Everyone knows google as the search engine and that strange group of people trying to force Google+ down everyones throats, but obviously there is much more to this multi billion dollar company. As the title suggests google are building their stacks. I can probably best explain stacks through the use of google and its connections. Google started as a search engine, since then they have stacked on a lot of other organisations/products/services, these include (but are not limited to) Google+, YouTube, and Gmail. Google isn’t the only organisation building these stacks, Amazon and Microsoft are also expanding their territory. But I digress, the real issue here is the feudal system developing as a result of this stacking.
Now I will leave it up to your imagination as to why a small number of people owning the majority of online services and websites is probably not a good idea (*cough tyranny cough dictatorship cough*). “Sean”, I hear you say “how is this a feudal system, this isn’t England in the 1660’s” no, it isn’t but the same rules apply. See, as these corporations grow larger, they begin to take up the majority of online services, meaning there is no escape from these companies. Lets look at our old friend google. Most Google services are free for anyone to use. This is where feudalism kicks in.
King Google sits on the throne overlooking his lands.
To the east is YouTube state, it’s heavily populated and dense. The subjects (you) work hard on the land providing cash flow for this king.
To the south is Gmail territory, again it has a dense population with strong profits for the king.
Lastly to the North lies Google+ state. Despite what the king says no one really wants to go there, never the less Gmail and Youtube citizens are forced to go there to gather more wheat (money) because the king says so, and who wants to upset this generous king who has given so much to its people?
Boldrin & Levine discuss that due to these stacks a monopoly is developed. I do not agree with this idea of a monopoly as there are a number of organisations with numerous stacks (Google, Amazon, Microsoft) the definition lends itself closer to an Oligarchy. By adding these together we can understand that the internet has become an Oligarchical Feudalism (kind of an oxymoron) where a small group of feudal societies own and run the majority of the internet.
So, you may be wondering by now how people being on google’s ‘land’ generates them money, especially since you do not pay to use the services. To address this I leave you with a simple idea addressed by an article by Forbes magazine.