The force has been ebbing recently. In the US, respected Web-based
magazines such as WebReview are closing down, muttering about ad
revenues. Over here, bank managers are looking askance at the fourth
‘Web content provider’ to pitch to them that day, and even those money-
buckets, the Internet providers, are looking uneasy. Peter Dawes, one of
the men responsible for bringing the Net to the UK, has left his
company, Pipex, saying: ‘Eventually, the sheer terror palls.’
Everywhere you look people are just...giving up. The glory days are
over: new-media experts are reconsidering their options - even I briefly
considered returning to my job as chief systems administrator of
Braintree University’s prestigious Sinclair wing.
It’s not entirely unexpected, this period of unpleasantness. And not
exactly unwelcome. It’s shaking out the hangers-on who got on the
bandwagon because everybody hated them in their previous job. It’s a
happy goodbye to those ex-film producers, ex-journalists and ex-chief
Those who are left are being obliged to work out a more reasonable
revenue model - or face having no revenue model at all. The consensus is
for long-term partnerships with clients or agencies. Developers can no
longer ask pounds 325,000 for four pages of html and a vanity domain
name, and then move on to the next multinational. There are no more ‘hit
and run’ Websites, but a trickle of income to pay for what is actually
needed: lots of long-term tracking of users and lots of keeping up with
Clients need experienced new-media staff. Tough, there aren’t any.
People who have been in the business for years have watched their pre-
conceptions be repeatedly trashed. If clients want overnight results,
then they should expect them to look exactly like that.
The only way either client or creatives are going to get through this is
by learning together and being honest with one another about how
ignorant they are.
Well, up to a point. I don’t think my clients would like to know quite
how ignorant I am.
Dan O’Brien is a new-media consultant.