Are There Any Original Internet Bubble Ideas That Aren't Being Tried Again?

from the free-PCs-are-back-again... dept

While lots of folks are struggling with the definition of “Web 2.0,” maybe it’s as simple as all of those original bubble-era ideas coming back to life with a new gloss of hype. One of the big crazes, for a while, during the bubble era was the idea of getting some tangible good for free, in exchange for advertising. There were free cars if you were willing to cover the car with ads (you could only get it if you commuted on certain high traffic routes). You could get free DSL if you agreed to look at advertisements. And, one of the more famous ones, out of Bill Gross’ Idealab, was the ability to get a free computer (from the appropriately named FreePC) — whose screen would be surrounded by ads. Like many bubble-era ideas, this one never got very far before collapsing under its own inability to make money. However, it’s baaaaaaaaack. A company in Hong Kong is apparently offering free stripped down computers to small businesses and lower income individuals. The exchange? There are a bunch of buttons on the keyboard that will take you straight to a sponsor’s website. How often do you think those will be pushed? Maybe we’ll find out in time for Web 3.0.

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Comments on “Are There Any Original Internet Bubble Ideas That Aren't Being Tried Again?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I've got a similar idea


They were awesome I made about $10K off of them in college. Just went to computer lab or had the 4 pcs in my dorm and set up a big pyramid on myself. I would get about 30 checks a month, using the hack that just moved your mouse cursor around and went to websites, set them all up before I went to bed. They finally caught onto my scheme and told me I could only have 1 account and they would cancel my others..I decided one account wasnt worth it so I stopped my scheme….I still got random checks for about 6 months after that even without doing anything.

Bill Broadbent (user link) says:

Advertisers are figuring it out

While the original online promotions were being done by people with no solid business model and really no fiscal responsibility, online marketers today are figuring out what can be promoted online and what can’t. People talked about eyeballs in the late 90’s – now the concern is profit. I imagine FreePC would be a lot more viable today knowing that strong marketers have figured out how to successfully promote online. Lower PC costs would help them too. I worked on a deal with the CEO from FreePC right around the time they first began shipping. Today I would have a lot more solid concept to talk about after learning better ways to maximize traffic.

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