Myth promulgated by morons (see Investors, CxO's) who think that collecting a big list of email addresses is a practicable way to make money off the "interweb".
(As opposed to developing a product that people might actually want to *pay* for).
Those who know even less about the "interweb" than the CxOs of the "dot-coms" who've talked them into parting with millions.
CxOs (abbrev, n) Chief <anything> Officers:
Spineless upper management trapped in pitiless attempts to choreograph the "dance for me monkey boy" requests from clueless investors who are now demanding redesigns, rebranding, extra banner ads, force-redraw of pages (increases the hits!), decreasing content on pages (more pages means more hits!) or whatever the latest fad this month is.
Notable for inability to distinguish between income, investment, and other people's money.
That which up-their-own-elbow self-appointed project managers were originally recruited to produce, before becoming too involved with hiring roomfuls of illiterate co-morons to shovel money into the furnaces (or as they call it - "grow the community") as fast as they can in the hope that said empire-building will attract the attention of the founders and justify a 200% pay rise.
The holy grail of the Emperor's New Economy, "Content" transforms a laughable business projection into a magic money pit.
Highly skilled engineers too obsessed with technology to notice that they're simply building temples for slime-mongers' egos.
Despite having designed, planned, and built the site, clearly have no idea about the industry, and shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about where the money's coming from because it's a bit complicated to explain.
The Emperor's New Economy (n):
The sudden recognition of the amazing similarity between the "New Economy" and grand schemes of Underpants Gnomes.