I’m honored that yesterday, Louis Gray – an extremely prolific and well respected social media observer and commentator – named Dawn’s Plan as one of his “five new blogs to watch.” Since I’m getting new readers here because of it (Thank you, Louis), I thought I’d state my basic beliefs that inform everything I write about here.
1) Business Models must be Distributive
The Digital Age is inherently about undoing the most egregious economic imbalances created by the Industrial Age, not creating more of them. There is little difference between getting obscenely rich off the backs of others and getting obscenely rich off the brains and hearts of others.
To his credit, Mark Zuckerberg recognized the value of each person’s social graph. To his failure, he has yet to acknowledge that your social graph belongs to you and you should be compensated for its use.
Zuckerberg is a billionaire on paper while the Facebook membership that makes the network valuable earns nothing. I predict Zuckerberg’s paper wealth will never be realized, because obscene concentration of wealth generated by exploiting others goes against what the Internet is naturally meant to be.
2) Advertising Distribution must be in the Hands of Users
Except for Search, Internet advertising doesn’t work. It will never work when it is thrust upon us, because it is kneejerk to despise and easy to ignore. Online advertising must be willingly accepted to be effective. This demands taking ad distribution control away from advertisers and giving it to consumers.
Closed ad networks that pollute the Internet and do little to help the advertisers themselves will inevitably be replaced by open networks which offer ads that may be taken by users and placed on their own pages – if it is a product or service they wish to help promote. This power shift will make corporations more accountable and will lead to higher quality ads and products. Also, people will be less fearful of buying when they have recommendations from friends, family and coworkers.
Placing ad distribution in the proper hands will thereby help our economy rebuild from the bottom up, as trust is injected back into the system and people start consuming again. So by giving up power to distribute ads online, companies will gain. At least the ones that are worthy will. The others can die a quicker death and quit wasting resources that can be freed for better concerns.
3) Free must be replaced by Free plus Compensated
Free has been a collective disaster. We obviously cannot move from an industrial economy to a digital economy (which we must do to survive) if there can be no transfer of digital goods and services for money. That’s what an economy is.
4) Everybody must have a Place at the Digital Table, despite their Talents and Geography
Let’s face it, when it comes to making a living, the Internet has so far mostly benefitted left-brained people and has too often devastated right-brain people. While geeks’ opportunities and incomes have exploded, creators like reporters, photographers, cartoonists and other writers and artists have lost their jobs and incomes.
Trade in digital goods and services holds the promise of allowing great numbers of people all over the world to make a living without raping the environment, but this can happen only if doors are opened to allow in all skills and talents, not just coding ability.
5) Google’s Domination is Unhealthy and Potentially Treacherous
Yeah, I don’t like Google. Their hegemony rivals that of ancient Rome. The good news is that Google is much more vulnerable than people think. Their lion’s share of online ad revenue won’t last once the above four tenets are inevitably manifested. The only unknown is exactly how long it will take.
If you want more details about any of these, I suggest you check out my archive. You can also subscribe to my feed.
I hope you will stick around and give me your input. I appreciate your comments and welcome discussion about how best to spur the Internet towards its natural destiny, for everybody’s benefit.