Monday, July 02, 2012

[What If] An ad-supported MySql

Let's suppose that mysql was ad-supported. What would typical interactions with it look like?

mysql> CREATE TABLE table01(id INT, 
    name VARCHAR(400), 
    created TIMESTAMP default CURRENT_TIMESTAMP);
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.06 sec)

mysql> show warnings;
+-------+------------+---------------------------------------+
| Level | Advertizer | Message                               |
+-------+------------+---------------------------------------+
| Ad    | Foo Bar    | Visit our store at http://foobar.com/ |
+-------+------------+---------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> INSERT INTO table01 (id, name) VALUES(100, 'Billy Joel');
Query OK, 1 rows affected (0.02 sec)

...
...
...

mysql> SELECT * FROM table01 LIMIT 3
+-----+------------------------------------------------+---------------------+
| id  | name                                           | created             |
+-----+------------------------------------------------+---------------------+
| 0   | Sponsored Row - Visit us at http://bazbaz.com/ | 2006-04-06 17:17:49 |
| 100 | Billy Joel                                     | 2012-01-02 15:27:33 |
| 101 | Pink Floyd                                     | 2012-01-02 15:27:40 |
+-----+------------------------------------------------+---------------------+
3 rows in set (0.02 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM table01 LIMIT 30
+-----+------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------+
| id  | name                                                       | created             |
+-----+------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------+
| 0   | Sponsored Row - Visit us at http://bazbaz.com/             | 2006-04-06 17:17:49 |
| 100 | Billy Joel                                                 | 2012-01-02 15:27:33 |
| 101 | Pink Floyd                                                 | 2012-01-02 15:27:40 |
| 102 | Dire Straits                                               | 2012-01-02 15:27:45 |
| 0   | To see more than 4 rows at a time, visit http://mysql.com/ | 2012-01-02 20:00:07 |
+-----+------------------------------------------------------------+---------------------+
5 rows in set (0.00 sec)


Well, thank FSF for Free & open Source Software!!

18 comments:

Gaurav Menghani said...

Would have been a nightmare. But I guess, it wouldn't have become that popular in the first place, because who would like to work on something this hideous, unless you are paid for it? :P

dhruv said...

I'm sure there would be "wrappers" to filter out the sponsored rows!!

Aniruddha said...

The kind of ad supported model you describe is just not feasible :P You can't really put ads anywhere you like. That said, the "free" in FSF is the famous "free as in beer". How many advertisement based stand alone desktop applications do you see these days anyway? Software should be free, not services. Ads are a good way for free services to keep running.

dhruv said...

@Aniruddha: So are you fine with an ad-supported hosted-mysql - something like what Amazon, Azure, etc... are offering? That is technically a service.

Btw, there are a few ad-supported desktop ads. Not sure of the recency, but Winamp, Winzip, and Opera (iirc, they got rid of ads a while ago) immediately come to mind.

Aniruddha said...

Yes, if you are providing free hosting, it's okay to show ads. Again, the kind of advertisements you propose would just irritate users and drive them away. I hope you remember that brainstorming session we had at Directi trying to find all possible places where we could place ads on the chat client :)

Winamp, Winzip, Opera don't have ads anymore AFAIK, or they've been rendered moot by a better ad-free application.

dhruv said...

So, you are okay with getting sponsored rows in your mysql output if you are using a hosted service?

Winzip & Winamp used to install spyware and other AOL related apps and browser toolbars and reset your home page, etc... Ads is just a small part of what they did! I don't know what their state is now, but it's wrong to argue that they didn't (or don't) show ads by saying that they have been replaced by other products. We are discussing what they did rather than whether what they did was right or sustainable or frustrating for their end-users.

Aniruddha said...

No, I'm not okay with sponsored rows. That's like asking if it's okay for something like gmail to insert sponsored mails in your inbox every now and then. I'm okay with ads if they're non-intrusive.

dhruv said...

How different is a "sponsored email" from a "sponsored tweet"? Gmail might consider coloring it differently.

nomind said...

I am okay with sponsored ads for a free service but its done in a hideous way. Facebook started with no ads and when it became big it adopted them knowing since people won't be irritated enough to move away. Remember they did not ask the user if they want to see ads or not. It is plain blackmail I feel. It's like I go to a movie knowing that tickets are X and after halftime collect another X/1000000 more knowing that I will not leave the movie in between.

nomind said...

And it is the same with all other so called "free" services be it google, gmail, twitter. It is no less criminal for google chrome to make google as its default search engine that it was for microsoft to make IE default browser of Windows.

dhruv said...

Yes, wrt google - we can draw an analogy, but you can also argue that "that's business!".

Q0. What do you pay for today on the internet?

Q1. What would you pay for on the internet today?

Q2. Given your understanding of where the internet will be in a few years, what would you pay for on the internet?

nomind said...

Today, we pay mostly indirectly through ads.

I am happy to pay for useful services like gmail as long as they remove all the ads and do not peek in my mails. I am also in favour of having basic version free but you pay for extra versions. I am okay with ads too as long as they ask for permission of the user.

dhruv said...

Looks like you are talking about DuckDuckGo, where are people are all good looking and the ads are completely optional (this is true!). Check https://duckduckgo.com/settings.html and see the "Layout" tab.

nomind said...

dude come on :)

I can actually see your smiling face beside every duckduckgo link that you copy paste in your email replies :)

Aniruddha said...

It's mostly the "free" services that rely on ads. A service has to make money. Look at what happened to those that weren't making money. They get acquired or acq-hired or just shut down (Loopt, Posterous, Gowalla, Instagram to name a few). It's easy to say you will pay money for X, but would you pay money for every service that you use? A lot of these services are what they are, essentially because they were free.

You can't compare the IE case with google. The problem was not the bundling, but Micro$oft's incentives to OEMs for shipping IE instead of something else.

nomind said...

I agree that services need to make money. I am just saying that have well defined ways for that rather than the sneaky approaches.

With IE and google, they are doing the same "evil", its just that MS was better at it.

dhruv said...

@Aniruddha

> It's easy to say you will pay money for X, but
> would you pay money for every service that you use?

An answer of "no" to the question above means nothing in the context of this discussion. Just because I won't pay for every service that I use today doesn't mean I don't see myself doing it in the future. It would be quite stupid of me to pay for something that is available for free. OTOH, if someone is able to create a differential and add value and charge for it and it is adding value to my life/experience and there is no other free alternative, then I would pay for it. It's hard for startups - I agree - which is why there is a concept of funding.

> A lot of these services are what they are,
> essentially because they were free.

Possibly - you can't take anything away from the quality of their service just because they are free. Curiously though, email, domains, hosting are probably the only things I would pay for today. I don't pay for email since there are superb free alternatives available today. Not so the case with the other 2.

>You can't compare the IE case with google. The problem
> was not the bundling, but Micro$oft's incentives to
> OEMs for shipping IE instead of something else.

True, my bad - there was more to the story in M$' case.

seriesofexp said...

Well written :-)
But in all of the possible parallel universes and timelines, it won't go this far..