Internet as Fief

arthur In today’s Advertising Age, Patrick Moorhead, senior VP, group management director, mobile platforms for Draftfcb Chicago, makes an apt and important point about how the corporation-dominated internet works:

We live in a kind of digital feudal economy these days. We live on land we don’t own, and we provide the masters of the realm (Facebook, Google, etc.) with unlimited free access to our data and behavior, which they monetize for billions of dollars. We get to keep our little plots of digital land for free and are otherwise pretty much at the whim of the feudal masters.

Of course, the masters are actually corporate capitalists, and the corporate capitalists at Facebook and Google are, as their founders now admit, 100 percent in the advertising business, meaning their product is both harvesting data and delivering eyeballs, eardrums, and mindshares to other corporate capitalists, who use those products to plan and execute marketing campaigns.

Nonetheless, the analogy to feudalism is apt. Surrendering corvée to exploiting overlords is the price of admission to almost all internet activities in the United States, including the basic search engine services mediated by Google.

Of course, there is no technical reason why the internet could not include first-class, not-for-profit, data-secure search engines and other services. It’s just that the overclass won’t permit such possibilities to be discussed, let alone implemented.

10 Replies to “Internet as Fief”

  1. md
    you certain the “its just more nowhere ing ”
    take on the occ gets enough of the ground covered to leave it at that
    even from your perspective ?? ???

    i like this point :

    “movements” that can’t name or show or even suggest any victories are in big trouble”

    the occ needs a few wins and a few vanishments before nbanishments followed by a re appearance else where

    static liberate zones are for pigeons

  2. Hi, op-san! Miss you, man!

    You are certainly right: It’s not proper to say the OCC is just a waste. It could certainly get smarter, and it would be highly interesting to see them move themselves to, say, Charlotte, NC next summer.

    But I have been watching the ballyhooed Portland branch, and am far from convinced it has brain enough to do anything but wind up embarrassing itself. They are camping in the safest possible public spaces. The one they just got kicked out of is on the front doorstep of city hall, and is a longtime sleeping venue for the homeless, who on normal nights are almost as thick on the ground as the OWSers were there. Now, the camp will probably reappear at another public park on the campus of Portland State University. Safe and sterile to the bone.

    You know what’s two blocks from the place they just lost? Niketown, whose locally resident CEO just bitched and threatened to leave the state when voters passed a 1% tax hike on high incomes. But occupying that place would not lead to campouts and sing-alongs.

    The other rather obvious places to occupy might be major pieces of abandoned or misused private property, or perhaps even the state capitol, with the political duopoly, especially the Dems, and babysitter politicians being the target.

    All this is carping perhaps, but it seems preferable and more realistic than the “anarchist” and aging lefty “love” being peddled over at dear old SMBIVA. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

  3. charlotte home of america’s bank

    i’d want a union 0fficial presence there too
    the heart of right to work country

    i understand an action versious demand movement
    but a focus is neeeded
    a class focus in particular
    the nascent job site liberation movement
    needs a job class charter
    a declaration of the rights of the jobbled ala brits WC produced fanchise movement of the 1830’s and 40’s
    a social contract for jobbled america

  4. I haven’t looked again recently, but I thought the manifesto they issued a while back was a pretty big train wreck on the class issues. Talk of job training and hints of China-bashing, but no “jobs for all,” no specifics of income redist, and a generally conventional “middle class society” tone.

    Personally, as much as I appreciate the superpowers possessed within the upper 1 percent, I’d also have preferred “We are the 90.” In my experience, the top ten is quite thoroughly enemy territory.

  5. The video showed a guy spouting shite about “our troops” and how they “protect our freedom.” How does that get labeled anything but awful by the SMBIVA we once knew and loved?

    Meanwhile, the police are certainly not our friends, but neither are they out there randomly beating people. In fact, the change in tactics might have been a major theme for SMBIVA and OWS to ponder.

    And I generally hate the SMBIVA line about schools and teachers, which is related to the nostalgia for cop-fighting in that it smacks of roteness and remoteness from ordinary people’s lives and needs.

    Any society with 310 million people needs cops, dangerous as that fact may be. I would much rather be courting the cops to join us than lauding grasping white veterans wanting rewards and praise for serving as drone launchers and petro-snipers.

  6. i may be wrong buit the stream kkeps rolling on
    mjs prolly never saw that “passage”

    “smacks of roteness and remoteness from ordinary people’s lives and needs”

    i know i have lots of remote views
    i think likewise with mjs
    its just self indulgence
    i need party discipline to stick to a mass line
    give me any slack and i go off the edge

    to me the points is simple

    would you go silent
    on this fringe meme stuff
    i believe mjs put himself
    on record at the site:

    “The old ML war horse in me is certainly not dead, and when the sealed train arrives at the Finland Station I’ll happily place myself under strict Party discipline”

    on the cop line
    i’m perhaps closer to you on that one
    i have no generic hatred of cops
    in fact as you know the riot cop units tend to be drawn from selected officers

    one saw this wonderfully with the white shirt cop
    pepper spray gig
    these very obvious players were
    drawn from the supervisary layers

    the sites i fight authority line

    has its place ..on the margin …during down time

  7. “So I call up my preacher
    I say: gimme strength for round 5
    He said: you don’t need no strength, you need to grow up, son
    I said: growing up leads to growing old and then to dying,
    And dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun

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