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Why Tech Monopolies are bad A Web Raft discussion

Yup, that is pretty much what drives the repeating pattern of unsustainable growth: 1. Make an online community 2. Let the community grow into something meaningful 3. Monetize the "content" that they have created (through advertising, subscriptions, selling off private data, etc.) 4. Use progressively more predatory practices to increase "profit" so that "shareholders" can continually get a "return on investment" Internet services usually centralize around "company-owned" servers that can hold everyone's data hostage if the "owners" want to "cash out". Unless there is an easy way to back up data and use it elsewhere after one deletes their account (i.e.: portability and interoperability), that kind of lock-in is unavoidable. The ability to host your data on your own computer is one of the appeals of "peer-to-peer" systems. Things like Solid (i.e.: servers where individuals control who or what has access to their data) seem to be an intermediary between those two extremes ("fully centralized" vs. "fully decentralized"). There is a catch-22 here as well: Most "users" would probably say that step 3 is where it starts to fall apart, whereas most "owners" would probably say that it is necessary in order to handle the rising costs of running the infrastructure for a community that is constantly growing (whether that be the number of accounts there are, the amount of data that they generate, or some combination of both). The more that one uses a system, the more that must be done to maintain it. I wonder if there are any crowdfunded websites whose operation and costs are completely transparent and upfront. For example: "Until we find a way to make it free, running the servers for this number of accounts each month costs [blank], so each person has to pay [blank], a fraction of that amount, to keep their account. Moderation consists of [blank] tasks, so every account has to do [blank] every week to have the ability to post." The first one is easy to manage because it scales with the number of accounts / amount of data. The second one is more variable and tricky, especially if there are specialized roles and/or no code of ethics that people take seriously. Ultimately, it comes down to how people choose to interact with one another. The technologies and procedures are just an extension of that.

However back in the 2000's we said the same thing about Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, Myspace and Lycos. Remember Geocities was Yahoo's answer to being a Google type venue at the time and was considered big tech of the era.

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