Joseph Franklyn McElroy Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist] on Fri, 19 Apr 2002 14:59:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> The Economist: The Internet sells its soul

Once upon a time the Internet was for maintenance of a communication network in 
case of catastrophic failures.  Or for exchanging messages between academics or 
technologists.  Perhaps it was about ego, but it was not about profit.  Does 
the profit imperative make it spirtually less uplifting than ego gratification 
or military security?
Joseph Franklyn McElroy 
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]
Electric Hands, Inc
Electrify your sales, Electrify your Mind

Quoting Francis Hwang <>:

> I love all this "The internet sells out" talk. As if it were ever 
> about something besides profit? Once upon a time, companies believed 
> that they could give you stuff for free, but there was always a 
> profit motive behind that. Maybe they thought your demographic info 
> would be useful to other companies. Maybe they thought they could 
> sell you digital cameras. Whatever the case, the profit motive was 
> always there. It's not like the internet used to be this grand place 
> full of peace and free love and great LSD. Sure, we went to the 
> dotcom parties and we drank our free drinks, and it was fun while it 
> lasted, but who was sponsoring the whole thing?
> Yes, web pages are getting more obtrusive with their ads. First of 
> all, there are tons of products that block this, including Mozilla, 
> which AOL will be using as their main browser in the near future.
> But we would be sorely mistaken if we took "the internet" to be 
> synonymous with "the web". Think of all the interesting technologies 
> that gained prominence in the last few years -- instant-messenging 
> (not new, but newly discovered by non-geeks), Everquest, Napster and 
> all its p2p children. None of those are web sites. They are services 
> that do what people want them to do.
> Just like email. Last year my mother started using email, with the 
> help of my youngest brother. Keep in mind: She's a 50-something 
> Korean immigrant who distrusts ATMs and prefers often to wash dishes 
> by hand. Now I get these cute missives from time to time, talking 
> about family trips or the painting she's doing from time-to-time.
> Email's old news, I know, I know. Yet the fact that my mom has an AOL 
> account makes my life immeasurably better than the fact that anything 
> that Yahoo or Amazon has ever done. The fact of the matter is that 
> people want to talk to other people, not to corporations. And when 
> dot-coms can't figure out what to do about that, then they go 
> bankrupt. 
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