In a long post about why LibraryThing has 10 times as many tags per book as Amazon, Tim Spalding says this:
Take one example: LibraryThing users have applied over 3,900 tags to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, including “apples,” “office” and “quite boring.” With just a few tags, it might be thought a desert cookbook, a business book or—worst of all—a boring one. But these are all single-instance tags. With a larger number of tags, clear patterns emerge, with high-level descriptors like “history” (755 times) and “anthropology” (293 times) standing out clearly against the noise. Even lower-frequency tags, like “social evolution” (25 times) and “pulitzer prize” (20 times) can be trusted as relevant.
So if you can get people tagging their stuff, i.e., books they read,
you can collect enough opinions to see relevant patterns.
This is participation, which the Internet does better than any other medium.
It’s not broadcast centralized content, which too many big ISPs (telcos and cablecos) seem fixated upon.
It also wouldn’t happen if LibraryThing had to pay for a premium channel to reach all those people.
Participation is a big reason net neutrality matters.
I’m quoting a bio of him in full, because it doesn’t have a copyright on it
and I can’t figure out where it came from originally, other than by
the style of writing it is probably 19th century or earlier and probably
a translation of a German original, and thus likely long out of copyright:
GUTENBERG, JOHANNES, or Henne, who is regarded as the inventor of the art
of employing movable types in printing, was born near the close of the
14th century, at Mainz. He was sprung from a patrician family, which took
the name of Gutenberg, or Gensfleisch, from two estates in its Possession.
Of Gutenberg’s early life no particulars are known, but it seems probable
that he devoted himself at an early age to mechanical arts.
FTC Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy workshop,
Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of the Electronic Retailing Association,
gave some good arguments for net neutrality:
Ms. Tulipane also stressed the importance of innovation for Internet content providers. As today’s Internet is comprised of interconnected networks that do not distinguish service based on source or content, providers have been forced to innovate in order to meet consumers’ changing shopping habits. However, prioritization based on source or content will result in a closed network, and will stifle the innovation of both large and small e-retailers. Ms. Tulipane continued, “What’s interesting about the ERA membership is that the small players today may very well be a Google, or an eBay, tomorrow. Their model for success is their ability to innovate.”
a good backgrounder video
on where the Internet came from and where it may be going:
See especially the part by Larry Lessig about how printing presses in the early days cost about $10,000 in 2007 dollars,
and lots of people had one and published books and pamphlets.
What did the telephone companies have to do with inventing the Internet?
The World Wide Web?
What have they had to do with the Internet from the beginning of time?
Bob Frankston, commenting on how telcos want to shift entirely off copper to fiber so they don’t have to share and so they can allocate 99% of the resulting bandwidth to video and voice and 1% to the Internet, hits on an important point:
The real impact has come more from the 24×7 connectivity than the speed. It is this persistent connectivity that has made VoIP both important and not very interesting. Kids playing Xbox-live with friends around the world are not making phone calls – they going beyond the conceptual model of telephony. By treating the Internet as a service rather than fundamental and vital connectivity, we cannot use it as the basis for new services such as medical monitoring and emergency communications. The tragedy is that the resilient Internet is far better for emergency services than E911 could possibly be even if it weren’t locked into legacy rules.
As long as we have all major carriers and their oversight body (the FCC)
thinking in terms of voice, video, and Internet as discrete and separate services,
instead of thinking of the Internet as fundamental connectivity for everything,
we’ll continue to miss out on opportunities for services well beyond triple.
In addition to
Rural Redlining, it seems telcos may be divesting themselves of less profitable
customers another way:
While it may not be readily apparent to professionals and upper income consumers, rates have increased many times over for low volume users, particularly seniors, despite the apparent reduction in prices experienced by heavy-volume telephony consumers. The vast majority of American telephony customers are low-to-middle volume users and it is they who have borne the brunt of price and rate increases since the AT&T/SBC and MCI/Verizon mergers.
ISPs aren’t dumb–they realize that they make their money from people
like you and me subscribing to their services. If they were to block
something, it wouldn’t take long for the story to get out, and
consumers the world over would be furious about the censorship. The
ISP’s business would be hurt as people looked to their competitors for
an uncensored access to the internet.
Hm, for years now the Dixie Chicks have been saying and it’s been
written up in books such as Rednecks and Bluenecks: The Politics
of Country Music, that ClearChannel and Cumulus banned the Chicks’ music
from their radio stations, yet even after the Chicks won five Grammies,
last I head neither ClearChannel nor Cumulus have relented.
People might look to their competitors, if there were any.
In many markets, one or the other of those two big radio chains
is the only choice.
Continue reading →
Net neutrality is a principle that bars Internet providers, primarily
phone and cable companies, from charging higher rates to Web-based
firms in return for giving their content priority treatment on the
pathways to consumers. Without such restrictions, proponents say, a user
might find it time-consuming, or even impossible, to call up a favorite
site that carriers have relegated to slower lanes for economic or even
Cable operators are set to return to capital investments of a modest 10 to 12 percent of revenues, but they can be forced to spend much more due to outside pressures from increased Internet consumption and from rival telecoms operators that upgrade their broadband Internet packages to fiber optic super speeds.
Manby is “Charles Manby, Goldman Sachs’ global co-head for the telecoms, media and technology industries.”
The article remarks that Google thinks the Internet at large doesn’t scale for putting mainstream TV on it,
and google offers to provide search capabilities for cable TV instead.
Continue reading →
Consumers (and Internet companies, for that matter) have paid, should pay
and will pay for faster speeds if they need them. Some will want Ferraris,
and some will choose Fords. The point is that the consumer decides for
themselves how fast and where they want to go. Without Net Neutrality,
the phone and companies will set the speed limit and decide which roads
their customers can take, while collecting exorbitant tolls. While
they’re at it, they’ll inspect each vehicle to see who should be
sent to the back of the line.