The Web Runs on Love, Not Greed

Owen Byrne
Fri, 4 Jan 2002 20:53:38 -0400

> ridiculous. this is only where the money is for the short-sighted. tv
> floundered around for years before finding its 'business model' and even
> once it was successful, many more models were waiting to be discovered.
> the miniseries genre of the 70s/80s, home shopping networks, cable news
> networks... these were all 'discovered' after tv had already become very
> money-making indeed. saying that only britney spears pages can prove
> profitable online is like saying only tiger beat can prove profitable
> offline. 
Several pretty good examples of crap there. Ok it won't be Britney Spears, 
nor will it be the Carringtons, George Foreman's Grill, or Greta Von Susteran,
but there will still be lots of crap (and all of the above will have lots of
shelf life). 

> > And you know, things have been pretty good that way so far as compared
> > to books, tv.  The challenge is to scale that success and absorb good
> > offline practices (Google) more often than bad offline practices (spam).
> or make up some new ones. this is a new medium -- or at least, it could
> be. guess it isn't possible to say that it is, as only a handful of sites
> (still! after 10 years of popularization) actually do stuff online that
> isn't a mere shadow of the offline world. and even those have more or less
> been ruined. slashdot was one, ebay another, amazon another. all now suck,
> but they are among the very, very few that actually did stuff you just
> can't do offline. 
Maybe they suck because its not sustainable to not suck. You have to emulate the
technology you're replacing before people even notice things you do better.
And making up new mediums doesn't quite have a cachet that it did a couple of years
ago. Now its looking more like conquering the wild west circa 1880. Yep, there's still
gold out there but no world-changing amounts. The rush is over. The gold isn't just 
lying around. Now you have to mine it - big machines, big labor, big bucks.

Correspondingly the sites mentioned above are probably more focussed on mining 
value now that they can't find pieces of gold lying around.  Emulating a previous
technology is a model for growth so that they can get big enough to survive. 

Amazon, e.g., given that the whole use of ink and paper to pass bits around the 
planet seems rather ludicrous, might see themselves <epic> as the scourge of tree-killers 
and paperists everywhere and mount a holy campaign that might ultimately strike fear
into the hearts of the international tree-killing conspiracy , the smut magnates and 
propornganda vendors by finally overthrowing the vast tide, the fearful ageless hegemony of 
books and paperist thought.</epic> 
but first it actually has to get large enough and profitable enough
to _survive_. Even before they take on the tree-killers, they will have to
be big to get a segment of the tree-savers market (Adobe and Microsoft would probably 
want a slice, for starters).

> > Its like we're building the Borg. Its not the technology, its not the
> > human behaviour, its the integration of the technology and the human
> > behaviour thats the real challenge. 

> i am not sure what you mean? besides, <geek-mode>the borg are primarily
> non-human species</geek-mode>.
Building a single human consciousness, baby. Isn't that the whole point?