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    douglasadams.comDouglas Adams9 min
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    douglasadams.com
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    • deephdave
      Top reader of all time
      9 months ago

      That's one model of how online magazines work and it is, of course, absolutely free to readers. There's another which will probably arrive as soon as it becomes possible to move virtual cash around the Internet, and that will involve readers being billed tiny amounts of money for the opportunity to read popular Web pages. Much less than you would, for instance, regularly spend on your normal newspapers and magazines because you wouldn't have to be paying for all the trees that have to be pulped, the vans that have to be fuelled and the marketing people whose job it is to tell you how brilliant they are. The reader's money goes straight to the writer, with a proportion to the publisher of the Web site, and all the wood can stay in the forests, the oil can stay in the ground, and all the marketing people can stay out of the Groucho and let decent folk get to the bar.

      • thorgalle
        Top reader this weekScoutScribe
        9 months ago

        Fun scout! 👍

    • thorgalle
      Top reader this weekScoutScribe
      9 months ago

      According to the listing page, this was published in the first Wired issue. Which would be in 1995. What a funny and optimistic prediction of the present internet, accurate from some angles and wrong in many others. It’s got Douglas’ touch.

      Douglas would turn in his grave learning that marketing still exists, and that it still costs money. Moreover, ads haven't become magically better. They might even have become worse in their intrusiveness (but what do I know, I'm a 90s kid).

      I like the analogy of the internet as rivers and streams however. And the framework of "removing parts from a problem" is interesting too for as long as it works.

      With a little extra cable laying it seems to me that they could have moved UK Directory Enquiries to St Helena or the Falklands, thus bringing whole new possibilities of employment to areas that were previously limited to the things you could do with sheep.

      Once we drop the idea of discretely bound and sold sheaves of glossily processed wood pulp from the model, what do we have left? Anything useful?

      From the reader's point of view it's useful in much the same way that a paper magazine is: it's a concentration of the sort of stuff she's interested in, in a form that's easy to locate with the added advantage that it will be able to point seamlessly at all kinds of related material in a way that a paper magazine cannot. All well and good.

      1. Update (2/11/2022):

        This long Bill Gates interview, similarly from the 90s, is another optimistic historical view on the internet. Maybe we can learn from this when looking at blockchain tech today.