The Single Vendor Problem

Not to dredge up old arguments, but one of the primary reasons I wanted to see a central, independent web currency (the online equivalent of nickels, dimes, and quarters that people could exchange quickly and easily) was that without a single currency, the natural alternative—if there was going to be any sort of paid content industry at all— was a very small number of very BIG vendors.

And this is the inevitable result.

Of course, many are advocating an end to paid content entirely and stuff like this certainly adds fuel to the fire.

Just as in a lot of political debates, though, there are days when it would have helped to have a third choice.

[link via Dirk]

Discussion (8)¬

  1. John says:

    A third choice? Any choice? Seems the choice was Apple or nothing. Nothing was the 2nd choice? Don’t we still have the web?

    Also, I don’t follow the argument that because Apple filters out political cartoons and other “controversial” content, that means that we shouldn’t have paid content. I think I missed a key step or two.

    • Scott says:

      I was referring to a “third choice” between the everything-is-free model we’re heading for on the web and the walled-garden model Apple is driving toward.

      A few of us had been hoping for an open subset of the Web allowing willing sellers and willing buyers of content to toss change back and forth.

      Old argument. We lost. This is what we’ve got now and I’m just pointing out one of the downsides.

      There are plenty of upsides on the Web, of course, but time will tell.

    • vinegartom says:

      I’ll support you on the political parties and the currency argument.

  2. Vernon_John says:

    Wow, go Mark Fiore! If anyone deserves a Pulitzer it’s him. It was love at first sight when I saw his work 😀

  3. Felipo says:

    I don’t see the inevitability of the small number if very big vendors. That old model is slowly (or quickly) dying and the evidence is all but brazenly apparent in the Long Tail model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Tail).

    I didn’t know Apple was anti-satire…

    • Sandra says:

      You’re mixing raisins with peanuts. The long tail is about vendors targeting consumers; the small-number-of-big-vendors is about things tangled up in heavy network-externalities, things like handling economic transactions (Appstore, Paypal) or walled web communities (Facebook).

  4. Sandra says:

    Scott; back in february, in my convoluted, stilted english, I wrote Towards a distributed Flattr-like architecture. It seemed to go nowhere—another example of talk instead of rock, I guess…