With the currently on-going anti-trust investigations into the Internet’s ‘leaders’; by FTC, DOJ and now a whole bunch of AGs; here is why Google, Facebook, Twitter et al. are in far more jeopardy than imagined.
The business model of today’s ‘free’ online service is a self created, internal, and therefore far more suspect: monopoly. A clear violation of law.
Used to be, in the old days, when business did business that a customer was a customer and a product was a product. There were many customers for the same product. Not anymore. Now, the customer IS the product while the only controlling element of that state of relationship is by the provider. Nobody ever thought of the potential of making them the same: unless one considers Section 2 of the Sherman Act or American slavery.
The very existence of the condition of being both customer and product, is the complete destruction of free or fair trade. A self created, individual monopoly, controlled by the provider only. The customer who is the product; is unable to set a value of self worth. That value is dictated by the provider of the service of the consumer of the product and the product is not available without such conditions and in these cases the providers control their markets. Literally.
When the customer is the product, the consumer is the provider; as long as one keeps in mind the transaction is to allow non employees to access company data for the purposes of determining which data matches the desired data and therefore to sell that resulting data without the permission or knowledge of the product who still thinks he’s a user. There is nothing more anti-trust than that evil existence. The very business model of these companies legally make every user a quasi-slave. Quasi, because it is possible to not use Google; not use Facebook; not use Twitter; etc… but it would be tantamount to modems and dot matrix printing.
American slaves got free housing, free food, free clothing if they could find some, they had to pay for the right to stay alive by working to death. The price paid in physical and cultural damage to the people enslaved has left a legacy that has turned from horrible to abused. And that very same model is running the Internet, today. Only today, instead of the plantation owner having possession of your body and always beating your mental escapes down; the plantation owner OWNS your mental escapes and sells everything it can find out about your body, your habits, your curiosities, your desires, your fears, your favorite Pizza, your email content and your deepest darkest secrets and you think its a social network or a search engine.
The model is pretty simple.
Offer a product free to the public.
Then, record every action the user takes to use that product. That creates a unique, self-contained sector of the economy. Add things the user does not know exist. Follow the user even when not having the product used. The provider has therefore hijacked your browser and your personal or business computer. There can be no market share other than 100% in that sector as it is a closed and in most cases a secret transaction. Sell that data and make a comfortable if not obscene corporate living by essentially raping the personal data of every slave captured by the product.
It seems to make an obscene amount of revenue.
One could easily equate slavery with low cost cotton production, as well. But that would be reprehensible.
Well, so is the business model of being the provider, using the customer as the producer of content for free. Then controlling what is shown by non-paid submitters is editing: releasing said content is then publishing; controlling what is permitted to fit the corporate identify flavor of the month: is at least anti-trust and illegal.
Yes, besides the downright seditious acts by Google depicted on this site in other articles, the real fear is, those totally illegal and malicious acts make Sherman happy. R.I.P.
From Wikipedia: MONOPOLY IN THE SHERMAN ACT
- “The law’s treatment of monopolies is potentially the strongest in the field of antitrust law. Judicial remedies can force large organizations to be broken up, be run subject to positive obligations, massive penalties may be imposed, and/or the people involved can be sentenced to jail. Under §2 of the Sherman Act 1890 every “person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize … any part of the trade or commerce among the several States” commits an offense. The courts have interpreted this to mean that monopoly is not unlawful per se, but only if acquired through prohibited conduct. Historically, where the ability of judicial remedies to combat market power have ended, the legislature of states or the Federal government have still intervened by taking public ownership of an enterprise, or subjecting the industry to sector specific regulation (frequently done, for example, in the cases water, education, energy or health care). The law on public services and administration goes significantly beyond the realm of antitrust law’s treatment of monopolies. When enterprises are not under public ownership, and where regulation does not foreclose the application of antitrust law, two requirements must be shown for the offense of monopolization. First, the alleged monopolist must possess sufficient power in an accurately defined market for its products or services. Second, the monopolist must have used its power in a prohibited way. The categories of prohibited conduct are not closed, and are contested in theory. Historically they have been held to include exclusive dealing, price discrimination, refusing to supply an essential facility, product tying and predatory pricing.”
Prohibited conduct. Don’t you think the time is right to divulge how much of that has actually been done? Especially by Google.
So the likes of Google, and Facebook , and Twitter and some others that don’t matter comes down to a simple premise: the business model used by those companies creates monopolies by inverting the producer, product, user, seller conditions and emerging as anti-trust.
- “The Sherman Antitrust Act is broken into two main legislative sections, each with the intended goal to control the restraint found in business practices concerning interstate commerce or foreign trade and commerce. In Section 1, companies are outlined as the chief offenders by their practices of trying to restrain interstate trade through negotiations, oral or written, or to conspire in general between rival competitors to achieve a level of market control. Section 2 outlines individuals that seek to monopolize the market for their own benefit. This may also extend to a group of individuals as well.
- A monopoly is an economic term used to define complete and utter control within a sector of the economy. The market share is dominated by one person or a set of people that benefit the most, and is inherently devoid of competition. Since the Sherman Antitrust Act aims to promote competition, monopolies are therefore illegal in many ways.
- However, for a monopoly to be considered to breach antitrust laws found within the Sherman Act a set of criteria need to be met. First, the individual must be in control of a monopoly and not a perceived monopoly. While a company’s product may appear frequently in the media and every store shelf, that does not necessarily confer the status of a monopoly. The individual or individuals need to be in control of a sole products or products within their business sector.
- The next stepping stone to breaking the antitrust laws found within Section 2 of the Sherman Act directly concerns intent. If it is the intent of an individual to gain monopolistic control and then unleash the forces of their monopolistic control on the market, erasing many levels of competition within their business sector, then this would be considered a breach of the Sherman Act.”
Yep. Deep Doo Doo.