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Internet democracy is dying - Articles Surfing

Do you know that Internet is no longer a free Internet that everyone can share information with everyone else or everyone can freely publish your ideas or have your voice heard? As of today, the Internet is controlled by many Giants that can manipulate what we see, what we hear and it is the Giants to tell the public what is to be heard.

What's the Problem with the current Internet? People may ask the question. True, if you are the one that relies on others to provide you everything, you may feel this way - it should be that. However, even you are one of the Google fans, Yahoo or MSN fans, do you some times feel frustrated that from within their search or web site, you cannot find the real information you need, or have your been presented with too many garbage or un-related advertisements? I bet that no one can say No with absolute confidence.

So this is the problem. After 10 years development of Internet, the Internet has evolved from the original free network to current commercial centralized network that only a few dominated players are in control. You may still argue: there are still millions of web sites I can go to and if I like, I could open a new web site any time......

True! However, there is one question you need to answer: How could you let others know about your site without going through the big ones? The truth is, the giants like Google, Yahoo or MSN are actually taking control of the whole Internet by their search engine, or by their directories, which, in the beginning of the Internet era, are quite democratic, now become more and more monopoly.

I still remember that about 5 to 10 years ago, submitting your site to any web search engine or directory is quite simple - it is automatic and quick. The CGIs in those servers will add your link in a couple of minutes and your link will appear in the directories in a couple of minutes, or even hours. However, do you know that the now, most companies have to pay to submit your web site into the main directory? Most, if not all, major web site charges for a fee in order to list your web site, or your product into their listings.

But there are still some free listings in the net. You may still argue. True, but look at their traffic rank, any web site that has a Alexa ranking above 1000 wont bother to list your stuff for free - or even it is free, you will be put to a long waiting time or waiting list, from 2 weeks to 3 months, which, effectively, will force you to pay to get your stuff available to the public.

This behavior is not rare but more common practice and contributes quite a lot to those Internet companies' financial reports. And people are getting more and more used to them, just like people have to reply on Microsoft Windows for their desktops or Google for their search.

Search engine providers now have absolute power to direct user flow. And since they are not regulated, they are self-policing and if they like, such as Google, Yahoo or MSN, they are effectively control something over 90% of the internet's traffic. That's an awesome amount of power that is not answerable to anyone. For example, recently there is a news about Google banning German BMW (http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-02-04-n60.html).

If those guys don't like anybody -- for any reason -- he may be cleaned from their index and essentially booted from the internet. This is not about whether they have good reason or not - sometimes the reason they feel good may seem absurd to other people, or even they have good intent and try to do good but at best, it is still a risk to relying on a single company to become the sole source of our daily information.

In summary, the Internet or the information in the Internet should not be governed by very few companies; it is the Internet from the user, of the user and for the user. If we view the Internet as one of the biggest community, everyone in the Internet is a community member and should have equal power of management power; those few governors in the Internet - big companies such as Google, Microsoft or Yahoo are also just a few community members and the whole community should be managed or controlled by them, instead, every user in the Internet should have equal rights on the information in the Internet.

Submitted by:

Yongyong Xu

Yongyong Xu is an engineer, consultant and entrepreneur. As a 20-years-experience computer veteran, he has worked with numerous companies ranging from startups, such as InChorus, Internet Image to world class companies like Quantum and Motorola. He can be reached at yxu@netmite.com and his current venture is Netmite Communities (www.netmite.com), which is the first attempt to bring true democracy back to Internet by providing real time communities for everybody who is accessing the same web site or web page, which allows people to post review comments on web pages, ranking web sites and discuss in real time. (Redistribution permitted if author info retained)



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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