Would You Pay For a OLPC-Generated Google Adsense Click?


Recently, I gave the talk OLPC XO: Design Environment for 10 Million New Web Users, and one interesting tangent we discussed was the monetization of OLPC XO user eyeballs.

As can be expected, the first reaction to Google being the start page for 10 million new One Laptop Per Child Internet users (plus their family, so 30-40 million viewers) was something like Danieloso's OLPC + Google equation:

olpc google

But think about it a minute. Would Google's current advertisers really want to pay for poor children's clicks? Or as Martin Ringlein of Nclud says:

One could argue that the child of this family could visit the BMW website daily and be so awe-struck with the photos it becomes his life’s mission to achieve the “American Dream” and one day purchase a BMW of his own; ultimately resulting in a sale – it is a long shot, but possible.

But for organizations such as The Discovery Channel, this becomes a much larger and much more real problem – these children could become quickly dependent on their educationally entertaining content — but will the auto industry advertising on Discovery.com care?

If these advertisers are pay-per-click, or even worse pay-per-impression, they might actually be upset that there are potentially 40 millions new visitors that don’t have the means to be potential customers but now have the access to click on an eye-catching advertisement.

This very real concern translated into a very technical question: will there be a way to identify OLPC browsers or the One Server Per Schools so that website developers can code sites for those users? And even if there is, would OLPC want to allow it?

On the one hand, it would be in everyone's best interest to design websites that would optimize the amazing dual mode screen, yet on the other hand, since there could be organs of the current Internet economy that would activity devalue OLPC user views, should OLPC mask users to avoid discrimination?

What do you think? Want do you want? And most of all, what is right?

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Googles adsense is regional specific, in Australia I get heaps of Australia related ads so most ads for those countries would be from those countries and hopefully priced to suit the local economy. So I doubt poor little starving Jimmy in krablekistan who tragically lost a leg from a minefield accident will get adverts for BMWs. He might however get adverts offering him a job at the local phone help desk/telemarketer/WoWgoldfarmers or maybe local businesses will pay to get advertising, but at a cheaper price because of the advertising demand in the area being much lower. Google is already being used by poor people from poor countries as it is, there are more poor people in the world than rich.

Secondly I would think it would be a better idea for the XO's homepage to be setup as a portal page specific to their school or even the student (With Google search on it), where it would be easier to access the schools online books, upload stuff and Moodle etc...

Don't worry for Google. They'll know much better than you and this entire blog community (no offense intended) how to sort it out.

I can't think of a reson why Google should even be considered as the "homepage", unless Google is willing to pay for some of the laptop's cost.

In the end, this topic may not be relevant ever if the participating countries don't buy more than a couple of millions of computers altogether. As it is, there are a few interested parties, but only one (Libya?) commitment. Time will tell...

Google is one of the supporters of OLPC, to the tune of a few million dollars in donated time & money.

I really like your portal page. Hopefully it will be a library of local content, with only a Google search bar on the side.

A couple of millions (is that the total amount Google has contributed to the OLPC so far?) is peanuts compared to the value of a forced Google home page on millions of computers.

In any case, I think this topic is just fantasy speculation on our part. It doesn't look like Negroponte will find enough buyers to make it a reality.

One of the audience members at Shmoocon raised an interesting point on laptop identification - if you identify someone as using an OLPC, you also know that they are between the ages of 6 and 16, and probably new to the Internet, which has implications for child predation.

I'm sure that if the OLPC is unproxied, it will be detectable through the Firefox modifications (provided they don't have the UserAgentSwitcher addon installed) or the rather unique screen dimensions it reports. It seems more likely that the school server is meant to serve as a proxy, which will make all of this a much weirder game.

To OLPC's credit, the mic and video camera are hardwired top their LEDs - there's no software mechanism to activate the camera without its light also going on, which I think is fab.

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