Back the Net?
March 15, 2001 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Back the Net? Or Take Back the Net? It's hard to tell the players without a scorecard, especially when their graphic design is purposefully indistinguishable. The Backers want you to shop til you drop [online only please] April 3rd. The Take Backers want you to do something non-commerce oriented [online, if you can] on April 1st. Do netizens have any responsibility to "...prop up the faltering behemoths of the internet economy"?
posted by jessamyn (16 comments total)
No. None. Zero. Zip.

And anyone who thinks either of these campaigns will attract even one percent of the number of people necessary to cause the most barely noticeable change in usage, is nuts. And I think the creators of these things know that. They want publicity.
posted by aaron at 12:26 PM on March 15, 2001

You can not tell them apart because they are the same people. View source.
posted by bjgeiger at 12:36 PM on March 15, 2001

Huh? It looks to me like ravenousplankton just ripped off iconoclast's original source to do a parody. They certainly appear to be registered to different people. (BTW, where the hell does NSI get off trying to sell the latter domain on its lookup results page?)
posted by harmful at 12:47 PM on March 15, 2001

Please forward this letter to 10 other people

That appeal is especially comical given Buffett's recent comments about the Internet economy: "...the 'business model' for these companies has been the old-fashioned chain letter."
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 1:13 PM on March 15, 2001

Anybody notice that the BtN form to "spread the word" doesn't seem to have any privacy policy whatsoever? No, they don't have any intention of harvesting addresses.
posted by harmful at 1:26 PM on March 15, 2001

Considering most business models, you'd be doing the companies a good turn not buying their products.
posted by fable at 1:40 PM on March 15, 2001

I've already "imagine[d] the Net without Yahoo or Amazon" and I'm doing just fine.
posted by argybarg at 1:41 PM on March 15, 2001

Brennan, those WHOIS ads were reported on a long time ago. If you click on the button, you're told it isn't available, and NSI presents a generated list of similar alternatives. If you go to the page, you're shown an ad from GreatDomains, who invite you to "make an offer" or have the domain "appraised", with GD as broker. Try it with a domain of your own, you might be surprised ...

I'm not sure why specific domains are tied to either NSI or GreatDomains, but they don't change randomly. I thought they might be the registrar, but repeated efforts have found no other advertisers.

You can avoid this by using, e.g. betterwhois. (Which is at least faster and free of inappropriate ads, though it can't really improve on the information in the database.)
posted by dhartung at 2:27 PM on March 15, 2001

The 'net as a cultural phenomenon was originally a subsociety, a way to escape the systems and limitations of the offline world. Then the Great Popularisation came along and the 'net dream came to represent a different culture: when the mainstream adopted the 'net, it became a way to streamline and improve the existing society, a sort of super-television. Since this society is almost exclusively based on commerce, the new 'net dreams focused on business and money. Many of us old timers(*) resented this shift and the diversion of resources that came along with it. More than that, we resented the new restrictions and limitations, and the ways they crimped our ability to do things better than they had been done before.

This cultural rift shows up every time we debate micropayments, content models, banner ads; for some, the ability to make money is essential, and every setback in the search for ultimate e-commerce threatens the Great Net Dream itself. For others, these concerns are secondary; it doesn't really matter whether anyone ever makes a buck selling toasters (or essays about toasters) through the 'net, so long as we have spaces to play, experiment, converse, and build community.

I am, as I'm sure most everyone knows by now, firmly in the second camp. The value I see in the 'net (and information technology in general) lies strictly in its ability to decentralise and democratise human societies. If Amazon and Yahoo die I won't really care, because I never visit them anyway. In spite of this I am beginning to see how someone inspired by the vision of the 'net as its own marketplace - a 24 hour super-mall, a way for artists and writers to sell their work directly, a better TV than TV - might find the great dotcom shakeout depressing and worrisome.

I'm sorry, folks - it must hurt. But I'm not going to help you.

(*)yes, I know - I came in after bang paths were dead and never experienced the wonders of gopher. But compared to the legions who first found the 'web with their brand new 56k modem and AOL account, I'm positively mesozoic.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:21 PM on March 15, 2001

Does anyone else find it amusing that the super-pro-commercialism original "back the net" site uses imagery that looks like it comes from a 1960's left-wing radical?
posted by dagnyscott at 5:17 PM on March 15, 2001

OMG this is like the coolest radical grassroots movement I have seen since WalMart's TAKE BACK THE MALL super-subversive militant action a few years ago. Count me in, this is the kind of activism I can get behind!
posted by beefula at 6:24 PM on March 15, 2001

Or (referencing Dagny's comment) that "Take Back The Net" is akin to the anti-violence against women initiative called "Take Back The Night"?

Nothing like co-opting social awareness for the sake of consumerism!
posted by sillygit at 6:37 PM on March 15, 2001

In spite of this I am beginning to see how someone inspired by the vision of the 'net as its own marketplace - a 24 hour super-mall, a way for artists and writers to sell their work directly, a better TV than TV - might find the great dotcom shakeout depressing and worrisome.

It's not just them, I don't think. Not *all* e-commerce is about selling things that you could go out to the mall and buy. That part I could care less about. But I spend about $50 a month, easily, on Japanese books I couldn't get anywhere but online (or by begging my sister in New York). If the specialized sites go down, there are a lot of collectors and hobbyists who won't have a place to shop. I agree that the best part of the web is the playing, the experimenting, the community-building; but I don't sit strapped to the computer 24 hours a day, and I think it's also great that there are web sites that allow me greater opportunity to have fun off-line.

posted by Jeanne at 7:16 PM on March 15, 2001

What is the web for?
I see dreams trampled by eyes,
And fade into bits.
posted by paladin at 11:39 PM on March 15, 2001

and never experienced the wonders of gopher.

Why not?
posted by aaron at 11:54 PM on March 15, 2001

Or even
posted by rodii at 7:15 AM on March 16, 2001

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