View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, December 26, 2003

Quo Vadis Internet?

The guys over at Powerline are speculating on the future structure of a revenue-producing Internet. Since the clicks-and-mortar sites are making money, the biggest concern is for the news and opinion-driven, content sites. Hinderaker suggests that they'll eventually be paid by ISPs for generating traffic, which raises the question of the future of non-profit sites like blogs.

I'd suggest that the money is, and will, flow in the other direction. I pay the hosting company for a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth as it is. There's no reason that can't continue. Some news sites already are able to charge for access, such as the Wall Street Journal. More will try, at subscription rates, to do the same thing.

My bigger worry is that the use of packet-tracking software, in large part developed at the behest of that beacon of freedom, the Chinese Government, will spread. This will almost certainly have no real effect here in the US, but may curtail the Net's role as an unblockable entrance for subversive ideas into closed societies.

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