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The Digital Skeptic: Get Ready for a Google Glass Crash

Stocks in this article: GOOG

"We simply don't have a Web marketing vehicle everyone values," he said. "There is no 30-second spot of Internet."

Investors need only take a gander at the otherwise marvelous online feature, Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek at NYTimes.com to see how deeply undeveloped Web marketing is. The piece was labeled The Future of Online Journalism and bagged both a Webby and a Pulitzer Prize, but Edwards forwarded me a screenshot of the almost nonsensical banner ad that plays inside in the feature for most consumers.

"You would think with all that effort, the Times could have come up with a better way to integrate the ad that pays for the feature," he said. "But they didn't, and it makes this otherwise marvelous story look stupid."

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If investors look through Glass with Edwards' eyes, they'll see right away what he's looking at: a cottage industry racing to create apps and tie-ins for the technology, but with major problems that are being kicked own the road. Yet CNN, Twitter, Facebook (FB) and numerous start-ups are betting on the technology.

"I am very interested in developing an app for Glass," confirmed Vivian Rosenthal, founder of New York-based Goldrun, developer of the Snaps! augmented reality app. "I see it as a critical new storytelling tool."

But these shops are racing against the near certainty that Google Glass will create a glut of advertising inventory that will put even deeper pressure on already falling cost-per-unit advertising rates. Ashkan Karbasfrooshan wrote over at MediaPost.com that, by some measures, cost-per-thousand click metrics could actually fall to zero.

"Today, we realize that mobile advertising is filled with so many riddles that no way on earth is the amount of time spent on the medium going to match the time we spend connected to advertisers," he wrote.

The fact is, for all its complexity, Google Glass will do exactly one thing: It will stream personal audio and video 24/7 to the Web with no need for special coding or data-entry skills. That will create a tsunami of personal content that will hit the Web like none before it, and, in turn a wall of ad inventory chasing after already meager ad dollars.

"If we don't start being more careful," Edwards says, "We are going to wind up with a Google Glass like the rest of the Web -- online crap that nobody watches."

"If we turn Glass into a simple supply and demand equation," he says, "nobody wins."

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
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