Many years ago the web consisted of many small web sites, mostly text, and there were only a handful of ways you could find them. Web Search pioneers Yahoo followed by Excite became the place to visit on the web because they provided the only way to search for web sites based on what content they had.
They started out without advertising however needing income they turned to advertising in order to pay their bills and become a viable business. As the years passed they added more and more advertising progressing beyond static text and images to animated images with lots of flashing and annoying banner ads surrounding the one small area of the screen that people wanted to use: the search box.
Fast forward to a few years ago and think of Twitter and Facebook. Both free services also introduced advertising in order to pay their bills. Twitter clamped down on third party developers and pushed their own applications that included sponsored tweets and rearranged their home page to include people they think you should follow - sponsors even. Facebook added advertising early on and also found ways to monetize through applications and games played through Facebook and it was recently revealed they would be adding video advertising that automatically plays when opening Facebook.
No one wants ads.
Ask any person if they want the same web site with ads and without and they will always pick the web site with the information they’re looking for without ads in the way. Some people will even pay money not to see ads.
Getting back to web search, what happened to Yahoo and Excite?
Not only were Googles results better than their competition they had (and still maintain) a stict no advertising policy on their search page. They have found other ways to monetize and like them or not, there’s no going back to web search 1.0.
Facebook for social feels much like web search 1.0. They’re the most popular social platform in town right now but in a few years time when the next platform comes along that beats Facebooks features without the same advertising in users faces, Facebook will slide into obscurity like Excite and to some extent Yahoo before them. They’ve become addicted to the advertising revenue and like any addict their tolerance builds up over time until it’s too late.