Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Economics of Attention

Because of this information explosion, we no longer read - we skim. The news that used to last a day now lasts just a few hours, simply because we need to pay attention to the new news. So it is becoming increasingly difficult to juggle all the news sources and keep on top of things. [. . .]

Things get more interesting when we realize that our attention crisis is not only our problem. It is also a big problem for news sites, blogs, search engines and online retailers. Our scarcity of attention hurts their economics. The web sites that contain content relevant to us have a big incentive to make sure that we find it. [. . .]

The basic ideas behind the Attention Economy are simple. Such an economy facilitates a marketplace where consumers agree to receives services in exchange for their attention. The ultimate purpose is of course to sell something to the consumer, but the selling does not need to be direct and does not need to be instant. For example news feeds illustrate the point well, since they ask for consumers attention in exchange for the opportunity to show him/her advertising. The Search engines are similar in that respect, because they show ads in exchange for helping users find answers online.

It is important to realize that the key ingredient in the attention game is relevancy. As long as a consumer sees relevant content, he/she is going to stick around - and that creates more opportunities to sell. [. . .]
The Read/Write Web analyses The Attention Economy and how the web is affecting our "attention space."

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