Taming the Web

That cool breeze turned out to be a chill wind.

Here’s what the Internet will look like in 20 years: three companies will own the entire thing. I’m serious. We’re all going to look back at the days where a schmuck like me could run a site for $100 a year (for a 1gig, unlimited email, every scripting language I can dream of, etc.) and put anything I want on it… is coming to an end. As the New York cop said “Show’s over, keep moving.”

The Internet will be the home for very, very rich people. What costs $100 today will cost $10,000 maybe $100,000 maybe more in 20 years (in adjusted dollars).

And whatever is affordable will be sued into oblivion.

Users will be users and publishers will be anybody not you.

All under the very watchful eye of three companies. I don’t know which companies and it really doesn’t matter but Google will probably be one of them. Yea and fuck Google. Google is the new Disney. For a long time they will be the darling of this generation. Then this generation will grow up, move to Oregon watch their kids go to high school and while Google turns out the Web’s equivalent to “Herbie Gets Loaded” and say “man, these guys turned out to be evil after all.”

Getting on the Internet (as a user) will be easier and safer than ever. It will be exactly as pervasive as the integrated circuit is today. Each chip will require your online code which is emanating from a plastic card in your wallet. (This is how my computerized Prius starts today.)

The monthly fee to keep that card pumping out your login and password will be just enough for you to complain about — but not much more. Portions of that fee will go directly to the entertainment companies that were behind the SCOTUS Grokster decision today. Just like HBO. The Internet is the new HBO.

And getting your music and video played on HBO? Yea, well, not after today.

8 thoughts on “Taming the Web

  1. Matt Hite

    There’s always the next Internet, right?

    Seriously, though… there are more $100 consumers than $100,000 consumers. Doesn’t seem like a very good business model if you ask me.

  2. John

    I have read several articles on this today, and I don’t get it: As I understand this, the companies that supply the p2p can be sued, but not the broadband suppliers themselves? Or am I wrong here? Also, how about people like Microsoft who supply instant messaging and even email? Isn’t that the same thing? Or was the ruling having to do with “intent”?

    Also..as in the case of a few off-shore companies doing this..what would they care what the courts had to say, as long as they aren’t under US juridiction? I keep thinking of 1 billion+ neighbors in one country..2 countries in fact. how does the Supreme court come into play when the net is a world com device?

    Lots of issues..

  3. victor

    Yes, exactly. There are lots of issues, with (as of yesterday) lots of opportunities for corporate lawyers to make hay. Liability has now become the biggest liability to opening and running a mom and pop web hosting company.

    Hosting a server and providing access to the Internet will require more legal expenses than running a Beverly Hills day care.

    Watch what happens the next five years as a result of this decision. The entertainment industry’s battle against the Web didn’t end yesterday, it’s just getting going.

    And groups like Creative Commons just moved up five places on the “hit list.”

  4. victor

    matt: if only it worked that way…

    If you get a couple good corporate (or gov) clients willing to sign a few contracts for a couple million each that would completely overwhelm the little guy.

    If you’re comcast/google would rather deal with one client (viacom) who signs with you for $20 million or 200,000 potentially bootlegger ‘webmasters’?

  5. ken w

    Being from the future myself, I would like to point out that you are absolutely right about the internet being owned completely by three companies. 15 years. Google buys out the majority of civil defense law firms and restaffs them with cardboard cutouts, aquires most police forces in the world, conquered much of eastern europe, and when I left, they were making a bid for Burger King and Tricon Industries. The good news is that for a low monthly fee, not much more than you pay for gas, you can subscribe to Basic Worldwide WiFi, a signal that works off of a preexisting system used to track musicians, endangered species, and smokers all over the world to produce synthetic fossil fuels after the oil ran out. (Premium services run about twice that)

  6. victor

    uhuh. Maybe I asked for some of that, I guess, [EDIT: editing out totally stupid comments by me where I totally mis-read ken’s point.]

  7. ken w

    actually, I am in complete agreeance, and maybe I should have explained a little better my own background…
    having similar feelings about this sort of persecution and voicing them myself so often, it has sort of become a bit of a joke telling people that i am from the future; it cuts down on all the time I have to spend to explain why I’m usually right about this very thing happenning. (if i’m from the future, then i already know what’s going to happen, when, and why, because it is all history after it happens…)
    Google buying, aquiring, stealing, and conquering are all devices I use to illustrate the extent of of growth and to question the integrity and even the capacity of responsibility in such an enormous and vague entity. (the fast food line only illustrates that they are the type that would look at something completely unrelated to their other forays and still move to aquire for the fact that it was overlooked the first time around.)
    The internet is still a remarkable place to find knowledge that isn’t porn (though “…asian girls, black girls, lesbian girls, SYNTACTIC DISAMBIGUATION girls…” did once come up for me in a query when I was studying) and I’m always studying, so for me the only way to get a potential customer (myself) through your doors is to offer wireless internet. That WiFi is offered through a pre-existing network that tracks musicians, animals, and smokers and turns them into a fuel source is a commentary on on two observations of mine. the first is that as both a smoker and a musician, I feel threatened and defenseless in many different ways, much the same as endangered animals; not because of my own doings so much as because of decisions other people have made in their own interests, regardless of my own.
    So, without knowing who you are talking to (who said the internet was impersonal?), you misinterpreted the entire message. One of the most important aspects of my personality is tone. It’s all some kind of cheap and self-degrading,jaded, post-modernist sarcasm. I blame it on my socialization as a child.
    (oh, and as a linguistics major, I am intrigued by your use of the word “facetious”. interesting associations trail along behind that word…)
    Anyway, thanks for such a prompt response, although i do wish it would have involved a little more criticism. But then, going back and reading what I wrote, your interpretation of my little story seems completely understandable, they DO let dumb people search the internet unsupervised…

  8. victor


    leave it to me to haul off on the one guy on the web that agrees with me.

    see, more proof I need to be protected from myself. Mom was right.

    being a high school drop out (from california in the 70’s no less), I wouldn’t be too terribly impressed with any words I use, even if I picked them up from NPR or metafilter.

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