Internet MonopolyAs a long time user of The Internet, who started in the very old clunky day of the mid-nineties when we all thought Excite Chat was really cool, I must admit that the feeling of freedom and independence it gave is slowly fading away. Gone are the pioneers who battled away night and day building a website using Microsoft Frontpage and battling the snail’s pace of a 28k modem.

Long gone are the 50 meter long telephone cables connecting our first portable IBM laptops. Also long gone are the awfully expensive prices we paid simply to be connected. One good thing. Back then, Yahoo and Excite were the biggies and no one had heard of Google yet. Apple was there of course, but it was a bit of an Internet dud because Apple’s of that era couldn’t talk to PC’s. At least this language barrier has been broken.

Yes, it was all clunky, fuzzy and unreliable, but boy it was fun and one could proudly boast that you were a ‘Surfer on The Web’ and emailing while your dinosaur friends were still faxing.

So now we take it all for granted and The Internet has become our source of music, books, movies, television, games, news, correspondence and of course, shopping. It is this last feature that was the game changer. From connectivity to corporate. From popular to profit. From mavericks to monopolies.

The Internet is now owned by Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Apple. All fighting tooth and nail to extract every last cent of profit from users – and content providers. Think of Youtube, Amazon, Apple apps and iTunes. All of them accumulate either cheap or free content to on-sell, affix advertising and attract all of us – the market.

As an Indie author, I understand what an opportunity Amazon in particular have provided for me. However, they are not philanthropists or community volunteers, so I know they will make a healthy profit from my work. As all of the Big Tech companies now do.

There are still a few with the old independent spirit, but Wikipedia struggles for funding to stay alive (even though they use cost free labour) and Wikileaks? Well, we know about that saga. Bright and original ideas don’t last long before they are bought by the mega companies. Think Youtube, Skype et al.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Have fun on the new, improved and multi-nationally monopolized Internet. But just remember to have your credit card ready at all times.

So Who Bought The Internet?
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6 thoughts on “So Who Bought The Internet?

  • 28/01/2012 at 3:22 pm

    Remember the days when your internet coverage was nothing but text? I do. Thank god it has progressed Derek. :D

  • 28/01/2012 at 8:47 pm

    Derek, Derek, DEREK! I think that we’re about the same age, but really! Dude! You’re longing for the days of the 28K modem??

    You are cracking me up, in a good way. :D

    Let’s see. Without blogs and Amazon I wouldn’t have any idea if the writing I’m doing is any good (it is). Without twitter I wouldn’t have discovered your blog – where I can feel free to disagree. ;) Without WebMD I might still be thinking that I have Chronic Fatigue, when in fact I don’t fit the criterion. Without Amazon I wouldn’t have a Kindle. Without Google I’d still be using that POS, Safari, to read/write this. Without Apple I wouldn’t have discovered Scrivener.

    And you have a problem with Amazon making some $$ selling your books (and providing an amazing resource for other writers in the process), when they are providing you with that same amazing platform, enabling you to bypass the Big 6 and get your work out to those of us who want to read it?

    I have a big, sh!t-eating grin on my face, writing this. Curmudgeon, thy name is Derek Haines.


    • 28/01/2012 at 9:04 pm

      Oh Julia!

      If I started to actually like all these things and agreeably wrote about it, my famed qualities of negativity, crankiness and disagreement would be thrown out the window.

      What would become of The Vandal if I wrote about things that the rest of the world agreed with? Heaven forbid if I lost the will to be the antithesis of all that is normal. Then there is my instinctive ability to contradict myself. A terrifying thought if this was to be placed in jeopardy.

      Oh yes Julia. How I long for the days of 20k modems and crappy text! Those were the days. :))

  • 29/01/2012 at 4:11 am

    Ha! 28.8, you were a late-comer to the scene then…

    I remember being awed by the speed of a 900 baud modem, mainly ‘coz it was 3 times faster than what I was using at the time. Much later in the heady times of 14.4, I remember having to send a file, about 2M, to the office in Hong Kong from the office in Bangkok; this was about 1990-91. I started the transfer about 11:30am, went out and had a long lunch, returning about 2pm and being overjoyed that a) the line hadn’t dropped and b) the file was about 10% done :)

    We ran a BBS which provided the first international email out of Thailand (I’m not making this up) and charged a dollar for every email, coming or going :) – people thought it was great value.

    I disagree with you on the web being bought though… it is still a place of freedom, just some parts of the Wild West have been paved over and turned into Malls – sh*t happens.

  • 29/01/2012 at 5:43 am

    I’m going to make the argument here that the internet is MORE free now than it was in the 90s. First, you said yourself that there were only two large internet companies back when you started using the internet. Your list of modern internet big wigs is more than three times longer.

    Today’s internet is fast and cheap. Anyone can have a website and develop an idea. I am doubting it was even close to as easy as it is today. I can go start a full-fledged WordPress website from my home in an hour, and on shared hosting in half that time.

    Today’s startup companies are a very large presence on the internet. Even if quite a few of them our bought out buy Google and Apple, I would make the argument that that’s not a bad thing. Google, at least, allows the developers twenty percent of their work time for private projects, and helps put the right people in the right environment for success, with a nice budget to boot. What Google does is borderline philanthropic for developers.

    You don’t have to sell your book on Amazon, iBooks, or Google Books. You do because you want the extra audience. Nothing is stopping you from converting your text into the necessary formats yourself and selling it right here on your own site. There are hundreds of eCommerce engines ready to help you.

    You should be embracing these companies, instead of biting the hand that feeds. That or stop the hypocrisy and just stop using the sites you deem too monopolistic~

    Sorry if I got carried away~

  • 30/01/2012 at 5:00 am

    Nowadays we can now use the advantage of internet in any kind of aspects especially to earn cash and to help you promote your website or internet business, you can also use internet to start your own internet business.

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