Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Paying for the web

Aug 30, 2022

Ben Werdmüller discusses different ways of paying for content on the web. What bothers me about commentaries like this one is that they suppose (a) 'paying for the web' (as in the title) is the same things as 'paying for content', and (b) the suggestion that there wouldn't even be a web as we know it without commercial models. Both of these are really wrong. We already pay for the web when we purchase computer systems, buy a lot of software, and pay for internet access. That's why it's so cheap to distribute content on the web; the consumers pay the cost of transmission! And there was a very robust and active online culture that had developed well before the internet was ever commercialized. There was never any need to pay for content until commercial entities pushed out and replaced our conversations, message boards, helper posts, and everything else. There's no actual need for commercial content. There's just a lot of people selling it who really want you to believe you can't live without it.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Dec 01, 2023 10:46 a.m.

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