The internet spies at us at every twist and turn not because Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page are scheming, sinister masterminds, but due to good intentions gone awry. Advertising became the default business model on the web, “the entire economic foundation of our industry,” because it was the easiest model for a web startup to implement, and the easiest to market to investors. Web startups could contract their revenue growth to an ad network and focus on building an audience. If revenues were insufficient to cover the costs of providing the content or service, it didn't matter - what mattered was audience growth, as a site with tens of millions of loyal users would surely find a way to generate revenue. There are businesses that make money from advertising, like Yahoo and Gawker. But most businesses use advertising in a different way. Their revenue source is investor storytime. Get the full story at The Atlantic Read the reaction of the media industry on the article at Digiday