Some people may remember the following cheques:
AllAdvantage existed back from March 31, 1999 to February, 2001. The idea was that you would have advertisements constantly on your screen and for every hour you were on the web, you would get paid 50 cents. At the time, it wasn't exactly something easy to scam because it required you to be moving your mouse. If you stopped moving your mouse for longer then a minute (I think), you wouldn't get paid. A red button would show up instead of the green button showing your getting paid.
As time went on, programs were developed that made your mouse icon move for you so you could run the program overnight and be paid for it.
I remember back then, doing it as a teenager, earning those small checks, which were pretty big at the time.
AllAdvantage caught onto these programs quickly and setup countermeasures in their software to detect the mouse icon moving software.
After AllAdvantage started, other companies like UtopiaAd started up offering the same thing.
Then the dot-com crash came in 2000, companies stopped advertising online and as such, AllAdvantage ended up going out of business.
Whats ironic is although PC World at the time said that AllAdvantage had one of the worst sites on the net, AllAdvantage actually grew to 13 million members.
In 2006, it was rumoured that several founders of AllAdvantage were trying to get a new company off the ground, AGLOCO or A Global Community. They even used the same taglines. This company again died in 2007.
Now, the United States Federal Communications Commission is considering launching a wireless spectrum that would encourage free surfing of the web. The idea is that the internet service provider would charge a setup fee for the level of service you want (depending on fees) as well as display ads on your screen. And apparently, a company called M2Z Networks is already willing to jump into this.
NetZero also used this free internet as long as you watch ads, concept back in October 1998. Then in 2001, it changed to charging a monthly fee, which was still pretty small compared to other providers.
I think the above companies shows that this free advertising idea will be a hard one to push, especially if the bidding for the spectrum ends up costing billions of dollars.
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