Security and Advertising
Periodically, I’ll get an email from a VC who is interested in investing in some type of new consumer Internet security startup and they want to know what I think of advertising as a business model for security businesses.
For background, OpenDNS is one of the fastest-growing enterprise security companies today (2012 was our third consecutive year of triple-digit sales growth), but it was founded back in 2005 as a consumer Internet company that provided a lot of security benefits and had a mostly advertising-based business model early on.
The short answer is that free security paid for by advertisers doesn’t work. The reasons are simple. Imagine wanting to provide the greatest protection and service possible to people. Then imagine having to compromise those aims in order to satisfy advertisers who want to use flash ads (notorious for exploits), third-party tracking cookies (a
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