Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Death of the Free Web

By infraoctarine in MLP
Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 07:34:24 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

news.com is running a three day special report called "Death of the free web". The title refers to the conversion of free to fee-based services, but also to issues of freedom and who will control the net in the future.


In one interview, Ken Lim at Cybermedia Gruop is quoted saying: "AOL Time Warner and Microsoft will probably take over some 70 to 80 percent of everything--Web access, Web usage, whatever". One of the other concerns expressed is that non-profits and groups without strong funding will find it harder to make themselves heard on the web of the future, as both access and content are controlled by the large media conglomerates.

Not everyone is concerned though, for instance, Audrie Krause of Netaction.org thinks the commercialisation of the web will mean, among other things, better user experiences and improved services.

It is a long article, but well worth a read. What do you all think, is the freedom of the net in danger, or is the concern unwarranted?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o news.com
o "Death of the free web"
o Also by infraoctarine


Display: Sort:
Death of the Free Web | 43 comments (30 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
So AOL and Microsoft... (3.20 / 5) (#1)
by nobbystyles on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:51:07 AM EST

Are going to be running lots of porn sites then as that's what 80% of the web seems to be these days...

That Connie, the AOL girl in the UK telly adverts, loks pretty hot. I wouldn't mind seeing a few shots of her in the buff...

Oh great...just what we need (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by theboz on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:39:27 AM EST

I can see it now, some annoying robotic sounding man saying, "You've got pr0n!" and commercials talking about "I just added the goatsex man and stile to my buddy list!

What's next? BillGatesscat?

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Here's link (none / 0) (#6)
by nobbystyles on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:39:29 AM EST

To Connie, AOL's hot-to-trot UK advert girl. I wouldn't mind connecting to her ISP etc...

[ Parent ]
Free v. Fee (3.75 / 4) (#4)
by Signal 11 on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:30:52 AM EST

In a capitalist economy, you want to explain to me why someone should not be charging for any good and service? I mean, that's the future, right? Long live capitalism. Yay.

On a somewhat more serious note, however, the government is no longer subsidizing the internet - it has moved into the commercial sector. For better or for worse; I tend to think worse. The net result of this is that the money needs to come from somewhere... and charity just isn't gonna work. :/ Sorry guys, this is the economic reality of the 'new' internet.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

fee ok, but.. (3.25 / 4) (#7)
by Platy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 10:46:19 AM EST

ok, i may pay for services but if i use one service i dont want to pay twice for it: once for the internet connection and then for the service itself. of course from the view of the ISP/service provider it is not twice but from the user view it _is_ paying twice.
_That's_ what i dont want.
J.
--
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
[ Parent ]
No, that isn't paying for it twice. (none / 0) (#34)
by aphrael on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:48:58 PM EST

It's paying one person to *generate* the content and one person to *transport* it. The fee you pay for internet service is like the shipping-and-handling fee you pay when you order books from a catalog ... only you pay it directly to the shipper rather than having the catalog company pay them.

This brings up another issue, tho: at what point will flat-rate internet service be replaced by per-bit charges? You'd think that the rate at which independant ISPs are going under would indicate that there's *something* wrong with the economic model for ISPs, and this could fix it.

[ Parent ]

i know... (none / 0) (#43)
by Platy on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:37:07 AM EST

... it isnt really paying for it twice but in my opinion it is from the customer's view.
J.
--
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
[ Parent ]
The Net is Dead. Long Live the Net. (4.66 / 12) (#9)
by jd on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 11:37:12 AM EST

The "Internet", as originally envisaged, does not exist. It hasn't existed for some considerable time. The original image was for a hyper-redundant platform that could survive anything up to (and including) a nuclear war.

Today's Internet can't even survive a bunch of freeloaders stealing copper wire, or some drunk maintenance crew cutting through cables during road repair.

The "Internet", as Universities envisaged it, in it's next incarnation, is also dead. It was intended as a network by which academics could trade information quickly and easily, on a national or even global scale. UDP was safe for real-time, because the risk of lossage was small.

Today, I doubt there's a major pipe that isn't dangerously overloaded most of the time. Real-time scientific data transfers are impossible. Communication is so slow and broken, it became more profitable to chalk up the billions spent on the Internet as a lost cause, and build Internet 2 for the scientific work.

Once the Internet was sold into slavery - err, the private sector, it was intended to be used by home users for web browsing, home shopping, telecommuting, etc. Videoconferencing and Internet-to-Phone relays also became hot topics.

This incarnation also died. The private sector cut corners and cut costs. At the same time, web crawlers, "active agents", e-mail spam, and other bandwidth-soaking systems have caused network grey-outs across the Internet. These have been largely responsible for the fear that the Internet was about to collapse. The robots file and the specialization of the search engines prevented a total collapse, but it was close.

In many places, such as Euronet, videoconferencing was banned, along with high-bandwidth games. The capacity of the network was just too small, and the money anyone was willing to spend to fix the problem was even smaller. Banning anything that didn't fit proved much cheaper.

At the same time as all this was going on, ISPs were getting blasted. AOL was even taken to court, over what was practically a non-existant service. (AOL lost. Big time.) The bandwidth they had was far and away inadequate for the task. Their routers were puny. Their phone lines were negligable. System resources were a disaster. And this was true across the board.

A -tiny- handful of ISPs were able to cope, and these flourished, whilst the others floundered. AOL survived the famine times by sheer bulk. Many didn't, and became prey for AOL and others. The -practical- Internet age, though, was now a rotting corpse. Starved of resources, it had wasted away.

The current Internet is nothing like its forerunners. It doesn't cater to "getting things done". Rather, it is a large entertainment centre. Prawn is the big #1 seller. Other online stores aren't profitable, never have been, and probably never will be. The Prawn industry is. Market forces dictate that the big WILL crush the small. There's only so much capacity to go round.

Online banks? A dream that died, long ago. Even Microsoft's attempt, with Visa, was killed. Micropayments? A neat idea, ingenious, and utterly unworkable in a cut-throat climate. Secure on-line transactions? Fewer than 25% of all online shops use =any= level of security. Of those with SSL, fewer than 10% use 128-bit (which is the mimimum that is worth using, if you want to -keep- your card safe). NONE of them use client-side certificates (which you need to prove that the client actually owns the card they're using.)

Once the transaction is done, though, is your data safe? SETI@Home kept personal data in plain text. Can you be sure others do any better? And even if it's kept safely, will it be sold to others? And =what= will be sold, if it is? And how long will that information be kept? Many places -keep- credit card numbers, after transactions are complete, for "verification" or for "quick entry". A very inviting list, if the company, or someone in it, wants to make a fast buck.

The result is a network that is now under the total control of the media moguls and the prawn pushers. The Internet is, and will remain (for a while) simply an entertainment forum. It's value as a tool to get things done is limited to tiny segments, such as the various Open Source/Free Software projects. Just small islands, scattered in a LARGE ocean that is full of sharks.

Of course, this incarnation is unstable, too. The markets being reached have only a vapor value. Prawn is natural. So is a cat hurling a hairball. The market for the latter is unlikely to ever be earth-shattering. And once society matures past electronic pubescence, prawn will also begin to lose its appeal. Value comes from rarity and novelty. Once these go, the market goes.

What's next? I honestly don't know. I don't even know if the Internet will survive another collapse. The Rulers of the Backbone have become (in their own minds) a powerful Elite, with end-users disposable peons. ICANN is at war with the IETF. xDSL providers are at war with each other, and will likely all die. Cable companies are at war with the telecos.

The essence of an "Internet" is a federation of networks, working together, co-operatively, supporting each other in a peer-based system. As soon as you add ANY level of dissent into the system, it WILL collapse. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but the wound IS fatal. There is no cure, at that point.

Why should that be so? Simple. Because you have to depend on everyone you're connected to to play fair, if someone decides you're not in their idea of the future, you're in big trouble. ONE change to ONE router table, and your network ceases to exist. If that's too chancy, lower the priority of your network. The slow-down will make people leave. The network's then vulnerable to a hostile take-over.

Oh, yes, the Internet Protocols work very effectively to produce a QUALITY service, IF used to that end. They ALSO make deadly weapons, capable of killing any company, however rich or powerful, if wielded in the hands of someone sufficiently evil and/or ruthless.

Any time in the next decade, such a war is very likely to occur. We're already seeing skirmishes, with national filtering and "content filters" that don't just filter content. The war WILL break out, and it WILL spell the end of the Internet as we know it. Very little of what we know as the Internet will survive.

After the Great Internet War? Who knows? Whoever wins will own a rotting, misshapen, scarred infrastructure that might prove unsalvagable. And building another might be considered too expensive. Nobody today would consider building a full-scale Egyptian "needle", or a genuine "Stonehenge". The cost and danger would be prohibitive, and the benefits would never cover the cost.

In 2010, this, then, is my prediction. The Internet will no longer exist. It will not be replaced, with a network federation. Rather, small, specialised, low-cost networks will emerge, totally disconnected and totally isolated. Bridges -might- appear, as needed, but not on any grand scale. That will have gone forever.

The isolation will kill the web, completely. There's no need to have a presentation system over such small clusters. It will also kill many large, co-operative projects, such as Open Source and Free Software. These don't scale down well. Not all will go. Small, flexible, adaptable projects will survive and evolve. Compatiability will be lost, over time, but the code will go on.

Imminent death of Internet predicted (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by sigwinch on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 02:24:11 AM EST

Film at 11. <sigh> Kiddos, people have been making this prediction as long as I've been on the 'net.
The "Internet", as originally envisaged, does not exist. It hasn't existed for some considerable time. The original image was for a hyper-redundant platform that could survive anything up to (and including) a nuclear war.
<sigh> The original ARPANET was a research project to learn how to effectively communicate using computers. No military, no 'hyper-redundant', no nuclear-war-survivability, no nothing. Just a tool for yakking.
Today's Internet can't even survive a bunch of freeloaders stealing copper wire, or some drunk maintenance crew cutting through cables during road repair.
When you are willing to pay $700/month for DSL and go to the trouble of multi-homing your hosts, you can complain about the occassional 1 hour to 2 day outage. Until then, shut the hell up.
Today, I doubt there's a major pipe that isn't dangerously overloaded most of the time. Real-time scientific data transfers are impossible.
Riiiight. Please cite the relevant bandwidth measurements from the supposedly overloaded routing centers.
At the same time as all this was going on, ISPs were getting blasted. AOL was even taken to court, over what was practically a non-existant service. (AOL lost. Big time.) The bandwidth they had was far and away inadequate for the task. Their routers were puny. Their phone lines were negligable. System resources were a disaster. And this was true across the board.
The first part of an sigmoid growth curve is an exponential rise. Resources are temporarily outstripped as more people sign up. Then infrastructure catches up and the constraints relax. Big hairy deal.
A -tiny- handful of ISPs were able to cope, and these flourished, whilst the others floundered. AOL survived the famine times by sheer bulk. Many didn't, and became prey for AOL and others.
When a specialist business converts to a commodity business, the unviable businesses can no longer survive by dint of being the only game in town. Big hairy deal.
Micropayments? A neat idea, ingenious, and utterly unworkable in a cut-throat climate.
'Cut throat'? 'CUT THROAT'?! Bwahahahahaha. The dot com idiocy of the past few years was a bunch of maniacs trying to outdo each other's burn rates. A slow, steady, long-haul business was insufficiently spectacular to interest them. Boo.com was too busy putting a call center in downtown SF (IIRC) to bother with something that the newspaper industry had already proven profitable. Oh, no, they had to try to sell .... well, whatever it was they were gonna sell.
The current Internet is nothing like its forerunners. It doesn't cater to "getting things done".
Think again, kiddo. Thanks to the Internet, electrical engineers now have data sheets for all electronic components at their fingertips. This is so much better than begging databooks from distributors and suppliers and waiting days or weeks for them to arrive that it isn't even funny. Ditto for scientific supplies. Ditto for information of most every kind.
NONE of them use client-side certificates (which you need to prove that the client actually owns the card they're using.)
This is wildly wrong. The submission of the credit card number is the proof that you own the card you're using. All a client certificate proves is that you have a particular certificate, which means exactly diddly squat for credit card transactions.
The result is a network that is now under the total control of the media moguls and the prawn pushers. The Internet is, and will remain (for a while) simply an entertainment forum.
"Chief, we've been hearing rumors that people are using the network for frivolous entertainment purposes."

"Great scott! I had no idea it had gotten that bad. We must shut it down immediately."

The Rulers of the Backbone have become (in their own minds) a powerful Elite, with end-users disposable peons. ICANN is at war with the IETF.
Oh, no! The heavy hand of ICANN! They control vast swaths of the net, several dozen hosts at last count! Hide the children! Protect the women! Get the pitchforks and torches!
xDSL providers are at war with each other, and will likely all die.
Riiiight. What will happen is the ones who were growing for growth's sake, without even a vague dream of a profitability plan, will die.
The essence of an "Internet" is a federation of networks, working together, co-operatively, supporting each other in a peer-based system. As soon as you add ANY level of dissent into the system, it WILL collapse.
Dissent kills the 'net? BWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!!! May the denizens of rec.arts.sf.fandom descend upon you. The 'net isn't called Shub Internet, the goat of a thousand hosts for nothing.
Simple. Because you have to depend on everyone you're connected to to play fair, if someone decides you're not in their idea of the future, you're in big trouble. ONE change to ONE router table, and your network ceases to exist. If that's too chancy, lower the priority of your network. The slow-down will make people leave. The network's then vulnerable to a hostile take-over.
Do you have any idea what would happen to peering agreements or transport contracts if a backbone started blackholing individual people at random? They'd be up to their armpits in shit, that's what.
Oh, yes, the Internet Protocols work very effectively to produce a QUALITY service, IF used to that end. They ALSO make deadly weapons, capable of killing any company, however rich or powerful, if wielded in the hands of someone sufficiently evil and/or ruthless.
The backbone cabal killed my company! Youth culture killed my dog! And I don't think it's fair!
Any time in the next decade, such a war is very likely to occur. We're already seeing skirmishes, with national filtering and "content filters" that don't just filter content. The war WILL break out, and it WILL spell the end of the Internet as we know it.
The end of the Internet as we know it. TEOTIAWKI. Just think, if Bob Metcalfe had come up with that he could have gotten as much press as Peter de Jager. Makes you think.
Whoever wins will own a rotting, misshapen, scarred infrastructure that might prove unsalvagable. And building another might be considered too expensive. Nobody today would consider building a full-scale Egyptian "needle", or a genuine "Stonehenge". The cost and danger would be prohibitive, and the benefits would never cover the cost.
Dude, if some guy in Texas can build a Caddilac-henge, keeping the 'net running ought to be a lead pipe cinch. SMTP, young man, SMTP.
Bridges -might- appear, as needed, but not on any grand scale. That will have gone forever.
Taking another swig of dog piss out of a rusty (no, not Rusty, sheesh) hubcap, Bob turned to his barefoot wife and said "You know, honey, after the fall I thought we were cut off for sure. Thank God Sendmail still supports UUCP."
The isolation will kill the web, completely. There's no need to have a presentation system over such small clusters.
No need for presentation system? <boggle> **cough** BBS **cough**

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

CNN (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by Jive Billy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 12:44:14 PM EST

CNN had some great stats this morning about the main web usage. Keep in mind they are an AOL company when you read the stats.

The study, I believe, recorded the percentage of time web users spent on certain sites. In general:

AOL -- 23%
M$ -- 8%
Yahoo -- 8%
etc

That's almost 50% of web traffic devoted to 3 companies.

is the freedom of the net in danger

I'd say it's already gone.

50% ? (none / 0) (#18)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 03:03:58 PM EST

I am a little rusty on my math, but those numbers appear to add up to 39%.

Now, that leaves the "etc." at 11% to meet the 50% number. I'd say that 11% is significant in that it's greater than 2 of the 3 companies you listed...

ti_dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Quoting myself here (none / 0) (#21)
by Jive Billy on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 03:47:13 PM EST

"almost 50%"



[ Parent ]

Almost... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 04:39:49 PM EST

Only counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades...

;-)

Cheers,
ti_dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
And... (none / 0) (#36)
by beowulf on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 11:36:58 PM EST

It also counts in nuclear weapons. :)

[ Parent ]
close (none / 0) (#39)
by nospoon on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 07:06:51 AM EST

and teenage sex...

"Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth."
"What truth?"
"There is no spoon."
"There
[ Parent ]
More stats (none / 0) (#42)
by infraoctarine on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 03:40:11 PM EST

from an ecommercetimes.com story: "Moreover, 14 companies control 60 percent of online time, down from 110 Web sites in March 1999."

[ Parent ]
Been coming for a while (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by weirdling on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 02:02:41 PM EST

Someone has to *pay* for all that content. Initially, people felt that the internet would lower content cost per view so much that it could be covered by advertising fees, and, as long as the content cost is *very* low, read made by your members, or the readership is so huge as to allow branding to be feasible, this isn't going to happen. However, fee-based systems aren't all that bad and have a habit of making a consistent amount of money.
Would I pay to be a member of K5? Possibly. There'd be fewer trolls and more people who are serious about the site. Same goes for dating sites and a whole lot of other community-related sites. Often, forcing people to pay makes the quality of the site go up and hence the value inherent in the site go up.
I expect it won't be long before commercial-free news and entertainment can be bought for a small membership fee. I'd pay if it was good enough...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Fee based subscription (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by Sunflower on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 04:49:09 PM EST

While fee based services *may* make quality increase, it also effectively disenfranchises a large number of users. I am thinking in particular of non-American/ non-Western European users. The costs for these services are much more significant, even for countries like South Africa or New Zealand, the cost of these services is effectively at least 4 to 5 times what Americans pay, and these are still relatively wealthy countries. Its even worse for people from truly poor countries.

A fee based service for a website like K5, or any site that thrives on user input, will probably dramatically limit the diversity of the user base. The web is already dominated by US concerns and content, moves to fee based services will only enhance this.



[ Parent ]

hobby sites (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by danny on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 12:19:04 AM EST

As someone who publishes material just as a hobby, I'm concerned about commercialisation (British English spelling) if it makes it harder for people to find my content - paid results in search engines, "Internet" services that only allow access to a restricted range of web sites, that kind of thing.

But if the big commercial sites want to go to subscription... that's more likely to increase my readership than to decrease it.. (If the New York Times book review section required registration like the rest of the paper, let alone a subscription, I might be able to push it off first spot on this Google search.)

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

The Great American Dream: Money or Nothing (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Crashnbur on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 04:05:07 PM EST

"...[a] digital divide that splits society into multiple classes depending on their ability to pay--a system that severely restricts the free flow of information as we know it today."

Um, yeah, we know. We are only allowed to spread or receive the information which we can afford to spread or receive. Says something about what's important to our nation. We preach for our freedoms and liberties. But money controls them, and we all know that. Which only leads back to the idea that we really do revolve around money. Sucks, doesn't it?

crash.neotope.com


the free web will never die (none / 0) (#24)
by Justinfinity on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 04:26:20 PM EST

well it might, since ISPs are not doing there jobs. IMO everyshould be able to get a free or very cheap connection to the 'net. Internet SERVICE Providers should provide more advanced SERVICES for a higher cost, for the people that can't or don't want to figure things out on theit own.

either way, the free WEB will never die. not anytime soon anyway. for all the pay-for services, you'll be able to find a few for-free services that may take a little more work to get going right.

this is way it should be. you can pay to have someone else do the work for you, or you take a little knowledge and do it yourself. the biggest problem right now is getting the knowledge. open source software is doing a great job to get that knowledge out. but since certain greedy people feel they have a right to make money in anyway they want, including blocking knowledge, it's still got a bit to go. (of course if i have a right to say knowledge should be free and trying to make it free, they also have a right to try and charge for it. oh, the dilemna. :-/ )

-Justin

If this is all a dream, please, don't wake me.
Got Water? Money sucks. Groove.
:wq


Ah, but that isn't free (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by aphrael on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:46:27 PM EST

which is better, a fee-based service that works out of the box, or a free one that takes a couple of hours *for a highly trained computer person* to set up? The latter *sounds* free, but it isn't; it requires (a) expertise [that had to be paid for], and (b) time [which is the scarcest resource of all and therefore, in reality, the most expensive].

Sure, some sort of free web will always be there for geeks. But in terms of mainstream society, it's going to end up on the fringes every bit as much as CB radios did .... and there's something amazingly sad about that.

[ Parent ]

loaded question (none / 0) (#41)
by coffee17 on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 01:15:52 PM EST

which is better, a fee-based service that works out of the box, or a free one that takes a couple of hours *for a highly trained computer person* to set up?

to load your question equally, let me re-ask it as "which is better, paying $200 a month to host your webpage which gets 5000 hits on a good month, or a free service which requires a couple of hours *for a highly trained computer person* to set up?"

Yes, geocities, or any other webservice which hosts small-fry pages won't be requiring $200 a month, but it also doesn't require several hours for someone with competency in the computer field to setup a webserver. OK, maybe if you counted the time to download apache going over a 2400 baud modem you might hit a few hours, but if you just count actual person time this should be 30 minutes if your stoned while doing it, 10 minutes otherwise. Also, it will probably be less hassle for the well-trained person to later updates pages on their own machine, than to update stuff on some other fee-based system.

-coffee


[ Parent ]

Talk About Histrionics (1.00 / 1) (#27)
by tudlio on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 05:02:48 PM EST

<rant>
The whole song and dance about the Internet introducing a new economy where everything was going to be free was bullshit from the beginning, and I firmly believe anyone with a glancing familiarity with the industry knew that all along.

Likewise this latest obsession with the death of the Internet is bullshit. Who cares if AOL/Time Warner owns 80% of everything? The people committed to offering free content will offer free content, and the people trying to make a buck will pay their tithes to MS and get on with making a buck.

The national media has always had a bad habit of oversimplification and dramatization, but from where I'm sitting it's about ten times worse for anything technology related. Makes me want to grab these "commentators" by the lapels and shake 'em until their perfect teeth fall out.
</rant>


insert self-deprecatory humor here
I liked this story (5.00 / 3) (#29)
by cable on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 05:11:24 PM EST

the first time, when I posted it. Nice to see that CNET has caught onto it finally. :)

The free ride is over folks, better start forking out that cash!

------------------
Only you, can help prevent Neb Rage!

The internet's not going away (none / 0) (#30)
by Tatarigami on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 06:25:53 PM EST

...but it is going to diversify. The big companies will have their own semi-private networks for people who are impressed by slick presentation and who prefer to have the work taken out of operating an internet account as much as possible.

On the other hand, free services will continue to proliferate among people who are happy with bare-metal operation and scant support. I don't remember Rusty ever asking to see my ticket. And there are uncountable examples of the same thing on a smaller scale -- I edit a free special-interest newsletter with a reader base of a few dozen. Read a few K5 sigs -- you'll see people promoting their own sites with their own services.


Yeah, well, so what? (none / 0) (#31)
by khym on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:21:37 PM EST

In one interview, Ken Lim at Cybermedia Group is quoted saying: "AOL Time Warner and Microsoft will probably take over some 70 to 80 percent of everything--Web access, Web usage, whatever".
Well, so what? Are people afraid that Microsoft is going to put up web filters to prevent MSN users from looking at anti-Microsoft pages? That AOL is going to prevent it's users from looking at anti-conglomerate pages?
One of the other concerns expressed is that non-profits and groups without strong funding will find it harder to make themselves heard on the web of the future, as both access and content are controlled by the large media conglomerates.
So they're afraid that for-fee webhosting, which costs, what, $20/month, is going to sky-rocket? I think there'd have to be some rather radical changes to the current ISP landscape for something like this to happen.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Blocking isn't hte issue (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by aphrael on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 09:43:43 PM EST

Well, so what? Are people afraid that Microsoft is going to put up web filters to prevent MSN users from looking at anti-Microsoft pages? That AOL is going to prevent it's users from looking at anti-conglomerate pages?

With MS's history, would that actually surprise you? OK, maybe that's a little ... paranoid ... but what people are worried about isn't blocking per se ... just ... making it a little bit more difficult. Imagine a net where some sites --- cnn.com,microsoft.com,msnbc.com --- are available via *desktop icons* but to get a browser that lets you type in the URL that you want to start from rather than the portals that the ISP wants you to start from, you have to find some obscure option on some obscure dialog that is attached as a property page to a control panel that isn't in the control panels folder but somewhere else non-intuitive -- with said location changing with each operating system release.

That sounds paranoid. But it's the way *both* companies have operated in the past; why would they change?

[ Parent ]

Re: Blocking isn't the issue (none / 0) (#35)
by khym on Mon Jun 04, 2001 at 11:01:07 PM EST

Imagine a net where some sites --- cnn.com,microsoft.com,msnbc.com --- are available via *desktop icons*
OK, that doesn't seem too unlikely; in fact, it's probably very likely to happen.
but to get a browser that lets you type in the URL that you want to start from rather than the portals that the ISP wants you to start from, you have to find some obscure option on some obscure dialog that is attached as a property page to a control panel that isn't in the control panels folder but somewhere else non-intuitive -- with said location changing with each operating system release.
Now that I find difficult to believe, that MS or AOL would get rid of the user-editable URL bar. They'd only be able to get away with eliminating it if only a small portion of the users used it, and if only a small portion did/do use it, then the majority is already trapped by the default portals, so there'd be no reason to take it out.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
Typing URLs (none / 0) (#40)
by guinsu on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 10:38:26 AM EST

Not only would it be hard to get rid of, but most people actually type their urls in another spot, the yahoo search box. I'm serious, I've seen my mother type "www.ebay.com" in the Yahoo search box numerous times. And I've seen other people do it, I can even find instances of it in my own web site logs. And a lot of site searches are set up now to redirect to a url if someone types one in.

[ Parent ]
Death of the Free Web | 43 comments (30 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!