The internet is traditionally a free and easy place, with petabytes of information freely available. Such as this article. However, with there being no such thing as a free lunch all this 'free' content has to be paid for somehow, and there is an increasing amount of on-line advertising.
Originally, the ads were simple things, easily ignored, and the surfer could quite happily browse their free content without ever really noticing the ads. Facebook and Google have both elevated the targeted ad to an art form, though. Facebook even asks if you 'like' the ad, whilst Google uses its knowledge of your surfing habits to select from a range of carefully picked companies that it knows you will be interested in.
Additionally, with the lack of privacy on the web, more of this advertising is becoming targeted to the individual surfer (such as the ad on the left). Targeted adverts are starting to detract from the content they are paying for, with some adverts becoming interactive, and drawing the surfer into clicking them with games of pool, shoot the duck or archery.
Although currently, this is meaning that a lot of actual content is ignored in favour of the pretty pictures, captivating captions and the lure of whiter teeth and slimmer waists, there are signs that in the arms war between the advertiser and the surfer, the surfer is beginning to once again gain the upper hand.
"It's a battle," said Brad Vurt, UK head of target advertising at Google. "We constantly have to up our game to keep the surfers clicking our ads. Every couple of years, they become immune, and we have to try a different tack."
So where will advertising on the web go next? That is an industry secret, Vurt revealed. It's going to happen, so watch that space left, above, below and every where your eyes rest. If you made it this far through the article without following a link for a 3D chat site, congratulations, give yourselves 5 thumbs up below, and we promise not to sell you Dennis the Menace shaped soap.