There's Content In Them Thar Hills
Given the amount of
that Ye Olde Napster seems to dredge up
for its sins, one would thing more attention might be paid to
reshared mass media has become. There are
still authoritative sources of high
quality news, but more and more I’m realizing that the “online experience” of
that news might actually be less fulfilling than the “dead tree product”.
After all, it may a pain to dispose of the newspaper, but:
- It can’t be ignored(or more accurately, ignore it for a few days and it
piles up, reminding you of your own wastefulness).
- It can’t be unpublished, and it *will* be archived.
- It’s much easier on your eyes(if not your arms), meaning you read more.
- There’s an actual profit model. (sigh)
That being said, there are some truly unique things that the net really does
enable. Usually, the more domain specific a given piece of work is, the
harder it is to acquire(since the generalized stores won’t waste space on
what appeals to very few). The net alleviates that, but suffers a different
problem: Due to the lack of a profit model, after a certain point, it’s
all too easy for a site to simply not scale to large amounts of traffic and to
have no way of improving scalability. This was the problem the
ZZZ Online faced, after
being temporarily(but repeatedly) raised from a slightly obscure but technically
unparalleled journal of upcoming technologies to a “geek mass market”
Slashdot destination. They lost their
provider as a result of the crushing load–an embarassment of riches, if
anyone was actually getting rich!
Honestly, there’s a decent question of
whether traditional unicast methodologies(even when multiplied by
highly distributed middlemen) actually
can or should be made to scale to broadcast-sized audiences. P2P will
inevitably be sold to the few remaining VC’s with money to burn as the solution
to these problems, and indeed
leveraging network locality of one’s clients
while maintaining stream integrity
is very likely to be an effective strategy…at least
until high speed upload at the client side becomes buried by provider
centralization and possibly legal challenges(i.e. “why would anyone want to
send data that they didn’t steal from us?”).