Another timely reality check from Nicholas Carr. Maybe time to revisit W. Brian Arthur's increasing returns work.
In the end, though, the internet seems to be following the same pattern that has always characterised popular media. A few huge outlets come to dominate readership and viewership and smaller, more specialised ones are consigned to the periphery. Most of the largest sites are now in the midst of acquisition sprees or expansion programs intended to extend their dominion. Just last week, MySpace announced it would buy Photobucket, the largest photo-sharing site; Facebook said it would expand into the classified advertising business; and Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said that his company has been acquiring small companies at the rate of one a week to build out its portfolio.
It may be that internet users will revolt against the dominance of the mega-sites. But I wouldn't bet on it. All the signs point to a continuing concentration of traffic within the fences of the new information plantations.