The age of free information is over. There was a time when creating a site for the express concern of becoming indi-famous and entertaining/informing the masses were the only concerns. People didn’t expect to be paid for their fresh insight; who would pay anyone to read about retro-toys or analysis of the stupidity plaguing the world? And that’s exactly the point: Webmasters were writing exactly what they wanted without second-guessing themselves (‘Will this offend my sponsor? Better not post it.’).

Now, we end up with a corporate circus to grab the next big thing, and plaster logos of sponsorship all over it. Sites no longer become fresh and new, but are time-locked at the exact moment that their corporate ‘friends’ felt they were best.

Not only do these corporate advertising networks steal from the fans, but the webmasters are also shafted. It’s a vicious cycle, and the end result is a hollow shell of a site with no further funding, and an individual with a much darker outlook on the world.

Now, I’d be a hypocrite if I were to say that I wouldn’t love to be paid to sit in front of my computer everyday, spewing out whatever dribble happened to be floating around in my mind at any given moment. What I am saying is this: Are we occupying the same place we were 3 years ago? Is the Internet still the ultimate land of the free, or is it a wasteland for corporate enterprise? It looks the same, but am I in a place where I can be shocked or inspired at any given click of the mouse?

I’m slowly coming to grips with the homogenisation of a place I used to love.

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