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I’ve been around the Internet since long before the “Dot-Com Bubble,” when we had to get our MP3s from IRC and use Blade’s Encoder for the command line. Slashdot was just starting up, ICQ was the only instant messenger around, and Winamp really did whip the Llama’s ass. Those were the days…or were they?

Some colleagues and I were contemplating what exactly “ruined” the Internet for each of us. Depending on the era we each signed on to the Internet, we had different ideas of what ruined it. Here are 2 of my own.

1. Inexpensive Domain Name Registrations and the introduction of ICANN

History
Prior to 1999, the only .com registrar was Network Solutions. It was $100 US for a domain. Fast forward to today and there are thousands of ICANN approved registrars (although mostly resellers) selling domains for $5-$10 on average. GoDaddy seems to hover between $6.95 and $9.95.

Why this ruined the Internet
With the arrival of inexpensive domains, it allowed spammers and phishers to setup numerous and ever-changing websites quickly and cheaply. ICANN enforces a 5-day refund policy for domain holders and registrars. What this means is that many people register domain names, use them for phishing, and dump them after 5 days with a refund. Below are two graphs showing the total domains and hostnames registered as of Sept. 2008. According to Verisign – 22% of the registered domains are “parked domains” and roughly 10% are inactive.

2. Pay-Per-Click

History
Advertising agencies in the 90s like Doubleclick, Flycast and Burst paid website owners one of two ways – cost per thousand impressions or pay-per-click. To get approved by almost any agency you needed to prove your impressions and have them audited. Rates were high compared to today’s rates, upwards of $5 per 1000, or $0.10-$0.15 per click. Adwords was started in 2000 and Adsense was purchased shortly thereafter.

Why this ruined the Internet
Adsense is the gold rush of the Internet. If you write a blog, you’ll make money. The promise of almost guaranteed inclusion into the Adsense network by anyone who can cash a check has launched millions of useless websites and parked domains. Because of Adsense’s low payouts, site owners have become increasingly creative in how they manipulate ad space. Duplicate content, misleading ad placement, pop-ups, and pay-per-post blogging (fake reviews) have all contributed to the decline of the Internet and search relevancy. Hundreds of millions of made-for-adsense pages litter search engine results.

 

Some of the ideas my colleagues came up with were: Flash, RSS, “Cheap” Servers, Frontpage, Marquee/Blink, and anyone with a Slashdot ID over 1,000,000 (ouch!).

 

References:

http://www.verisign.com/Resources/Naming_Services_Resources/Domain_Name_Industry_Brief/page_002689.html
http://www.verisign.com/static/040767.pdf
http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.html

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4 Responses to “What Ruined the Internet?”

  1. Johnny

    So…..why are you still on the Net.

    You techies were saying this same kind of thing in 1995….I was there regging the hell out of domains. Techies and entreprenuers are polar opposites I’ve learned.

    I remember wails and cries of the commercialization of the Net…..and this was 95′. They all wanted it to be some kind of “club”, where the public was not allowed.

    Reply
  2. Chris

    I’m still on it…because it’s still better than nothing.

    What my post boils down to is the relevance of the information available on the internet. It simply gets more difficult to wade through the crap…but of course there are many great innovations as well.

    Reply
  3. Jeremy L. Gaddis

    “I’ve been around the Internet since long before the “Dot-Com Bubble,” when we had to get our MP3s from IRC and use Blade’s Encoder for the command line. Slashdot was just starting up, ICQ was the only instant messenger around, and Winamp really did whip the Llama’s ass. Those were the days…or were they?”

    Hah, thanks for the “flashback”, Chris. I remember all that, and yes, those really were the days. =)

    Reply

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