Wednesday, May 8, 2013
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Saturday, April 20, 2013
There was an uproar when corporate lobbying tried to destroy the internet as we know it with SOPA, PIPA and other attempts to control bandwidth or control how we use the internet. There is however another threat that we have to beware though I’m not sure what we can do about it.
Simply put corporate America has the potential of being better at the internet than the rest of us. Just as food science has made the Dorito optimised to the point of addictiveness, corporate america will find the “Bliss point” of internet activity.The reason I think this will happen is that they have the best technology, reach, and talent money can buy.
The technology means they will be much more likely to use cutting edge software, If the software isn’t developed by them they will buy it out or imitate it. The companies trying to rule the internet would be almost impossible to sue for intellectual property theft and unlikely be held to the same standards as an individual. Large companies are allowed to continue to opperate during legal disputes while individuals and small businesses can probably expect criminal charges if they attempt to continue operating before the legal dispute was resolved. If they can’t exceed it they will at least be able to match it.
Fortune 500 types will always have the best reach because they can outspend smaller businesses on advertising. Even if a smaller company has a campaign that goes viral larger companies can saturate the ad space on the youtube page hosting it. Currently new media advertising is very effective for small business, mostly because bigger companies don’t want to bother with it. Once they find an interest it will be hard to beat them there because...
Conglomerates can pay the highest wages (but don’t when they don’t have to). Sure there might be coders and designers who want to stay independent but there are lots of talented people out there who want a paycheck. And if they can’t innovate they’ll imitate the work of the indie talent and re-purpose it for their company.
With these advantages these companies that already dominate shelf space will dominate cyberspace. The social sciences of web culture are still relatively young but continue to unfold the behavior of people interacting through screens and companies will master creating or exploiting your needs in order to drive you towards the purchase of their products.
That in it’s self is not scary but you must remember that it will never be enough. The manipulation of our base desires will become more and more immersive until you spend all your time on their sites seeing what they want you to see. MSNBC rarely reported GE’s misdeeds when GE was their parent company’s parent company.
Most products Americans buy are owned by eight or so companies. These companies all have obligations to their stockholders to continue to expand to make ever larger profits. This goes on until it can’t wring another cent out and the bubble bursts.
Small startups will be even more difficult because it will nearly impossible to penetrate cyberspace when every part of it anyone really frequents is owned by a company that owns the competition for the small business.
Currently the internet is democratized by altruistic businesses that aid small business. Anyone can create an Etsy or distribute an app. But this will only continue to flourish as long as conglomerates don’t begin to see them as competition.I see it as only a matter of time before conglomerates begin to buy up these hosting companies and dismantle them by inversing the bliss point. In other words making the sites so unusable that consumers are driven over to brand name products.