Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The History of Search and Future of Internet Regulation

The monetization of the internet, lead by the efforts of companies like Yahoo! and Excite in the late nineties, was simply a manifestation of its true nature. The internet is a product of the people, all-inclusive and non-discriminate. The idea that someone would eventually find a way to make money off of this wide open platform is far from surprising. Although few might've predicted the ubiquitous nature of the internet, any media professional can tell you that anything with a large enough audience will eventually be used for marketing purposes. Google obviously ended up winning this advertising war (hindsight is always 20/20, especially for Excite), but the beginning battles were really up for grabs. The discovery of the monetization possibilities of keywords changed the game, AdWords essentially ended the competition (stolen or otherwise). The origins of search online are extremely similar to many other facets of media, filled with trial and error, vicious competition, a dose of corporate theft, and a hefty amount of foresight and luck. The proliferation of Google online has only increased since they staked their claim as overlords of the internet.

The internet is the ultimate social tool. Whether it's the sharing of news or information, friends' photos, or music, its power is both extremely important and nigh-impossible to stifle (for every Napster taken down, two more will always pop up). The implications of this form of expression are far-reaching and essential to the evolution of human interaction. The sudden rise of P2P with the onset of Napster truly showed how drastic and quickly a good idea can take off online. The legal system is now constantly trying to keep up with the internet, usually two or three steps behind. Piracy is a hot-button issue in today's political environment, one that won't be going away anytime soon. The DMCA is constantly being challenged and hidden from all over the world, giving the United States what might seem like (to those paying attention) too much power over international matters. The issue is only spreading, with physical items finally being able to be downloaded in the form of 3D printing schematics ("You wouldn't download a car, would you?"), undoubtedly bringing with it new laws and regulations.
One car, please.

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