We are already in the bubble and it is just a matter of when and not if; if the latest post in TechCrunch is anything to go by.
Ads are intrusive, period. Unsolicited ads are spam. And I would definitely be happy to pay a marginal premium for seeing adfree content. TiVo is profitable not for nothing. And I am yet to see a hugely successful service other than Google that runs only on ads – And I think ads as a way to sell anywhere and anytime is overblown. C’mon, there is no two ways about it.
Putting ads in search engines has an intent, the user is already looking for the product/service. The ads enhance this value to the intent. The search engine already has her complete attention as she is already searching for new services/products. But not everywhere. A chat is not a place where I want to learn about new services/products; a conversation is already in place and that already has my attention. I am yet to see a IM conversation with intrusive ads which enhance the experience.
Not that ads don’t work; they do, for long we have seen TV channels, newspapers staying alive because of that. But they are not completely free either, they still charge some cost to cover the gaps. But to give an advice that any direct B2C product/service be free and supported by ads is just plain ridiculous. Good software design costs bucks, its development and maintenance costs too. Advising a (every) company to give a product for free and live by using ads is just plain BS. And users are definitely not going to be thrilled to see a (irrelevant) ad pop while in the middle of some conversation.
If this is the way things are, its just a matter of when the bubble bursts. Oh and btw just have look at the comments in the TechCrunch posts. Lots of voices of sanity in this already noisy business. Gems abound though…