Why is the Web a Commercial Space?

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It costs money to run websites. Designers and engineers and cybersecurity experts all need to be paid, servers need to be run or rented, domains need to be renewed. That all makes sense to me.

However, when you apply the logic of physical space to online, you realize that there are precious few private or public spaces on the web – it’s like living in a city made up of only shops. In the way that you can’t really hang out in a coffee shop without buying a coffee, you can’t just hang out on facebook without paying in the form of some data.

Where are the parks, libraries, and private homes of the web?

Marc Smith relates the ‘public’ sphere of the web to a shopping mall–someplace that might feel public to a certain extent, but comes with more expectations than a truly public space, due to its private ownership.

“Some property owners allow some forms of speech, but no one but the owners have a ‘right’ to speech in a mall.”


The need for the indieweb discussed by Heydon Pickering.

Tom Scott on cookies and tracking

A blog post probably worth incorporating into this discussion.

Great blog post from AZL getting into the web as a space.

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