monopoly   3264

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Anatomy of a Moral Panic
The advertising monopolies enjoyed by Google and Facebook are causing adverse economic externalities to important civic institutions like journalism.

The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism. By forcing reporters to optimize every story for clicks, not giving them time to check or contextualize their reporting, and requiring them to race to publish follow-on articles on every topic, the clickbait economics of online media encourage carelessness and drama. This is particularly true for technical topics outside the reporter’s area of expertise.
And reporters have no choice but to chase clicks. Because Google and Facebook have a duopoly on online advertising, the only measure of success in publishing is whether a story goes viral on social media. Authors are evaluated by how individual stories perform online, and face constant pressure to make them more arresting. Highly technical pieces are farmed out to junior freelancers working under strict time limits. Corrections, if they happen at all, are inserted quietly through ‘ninja edits’ after the fact.
There is no real penalty for making mistakes, but there is enormous pressure to frame stories in whatever way maximizes page views. Once those stories get picked up by rival news outlets, they become ineradicable. The sheer weight of copycat coverage creates the impression of legitimacy. As the old adage has it, a lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is pulling its boots on.
journalism  MachineLearning  ai  amazon  advertising  google  facebook  business  monopoly 
yesterday by jefframnani
ongoing by Tim Bray · You Might Be Evil
Tim Bray notices that people are starting to talk about the big tech companies being monopolies.

Or at least, your employer might be. Over the years we in the tech sector have gotten used to being well-regarded. After all, we make people’s lives better, on balance. That’s changing. At the moment it’s rumblings from thought leaders, not pervasive popular anger. The other thing that’s new is that they’re thought leaders who are progressives and liberals; just like most of us in the tech professions. It notably involves the M-word and those of us on the inside need to be thinking about it.
technology  business  monopoly  policy 
2 days ago by jefframnani
I significantly underestimated the power of Jeff Bezos | LinkedIn
But, then again, knowledge monopolists are not like every other business. Every writer, every media outlet, every book publisher depends on these companies for their financial survival. These companies, therefore, have a unique ability to inhibit criticism of themselves. They don’t need to lift a finger to ward off naysayers. By virtue of their size, the fact that they dominate much of the market for disseminating ideas, criticizing them often seems like a suicidal gesture.
amazon  bezos  power  monopoly  antitrust  influence  lobby  society  writers 
4 days ago by ivar
Does Culture Matter? The Case of Academic Economics
I remember reading Dubner of Freakonomics saying that economics is "cut throat". While we celebrate perfect competition in Econ 101, do we engage in perfect competition (pun intended)?
economics  rudeness  monopoly 
10 days ago by yorksranter
A Serf on Google’s Farm – Talking Points Memo
But here’s where the rubber really meets the road. The publishers use DoubleClick. The big advertisers use DoubleClick. The big global advertising holding companies use Doubleclick. Everybody at every point in the industry is wired into DoubleClick. Here’s how they all play together. The adserving (Doubleclick) is like the road. (Adexchange) is the biggest car on the road. But only AdExchange gets full visibility into what’s available. (There’s lot of details here and argument about just what Google does and doesn’t know. But trust me on this. They keep the key information to themselves. This isn’t a suspicion. It’s the model.) So Google owns the road and gets first look at what’s on the road. Not only does Google own the road and makes the rules for the road, it has special privileges on the road. One of the ways it has special privileges is that it has all the data it gets from search, Google Analytics and Gmail. It also gets to make the first bid on every bit of inventory. Of course that’s critical. First dibs with more information than anyone else has access to. (Some exceptions to this. But that’s the big picture.) It’s good to be the king. It’s good to be a Google.

There’s more I’ll get to in a moment but the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is so vastly important to the entirety of the web, digital publishing and the entire ad industry that it is almost impossible to overstate. Again. They own the road. They make the rules for the road. They get special privileges on the road with every new iteration of rules.
advertising  monopoly  Google  journalism  corporatism  influence 
10 days ago by Vaguery
Reporter: Google successfully pressured me to take down critical story | Ars Technica
Google allegedly told Forbes “the article was problematic and had to come down.”
The recent furor over a Google-funded think tank firing an anti-Google scholar has inspired Gizmodo journalist Kashmir Hill to tell a story about the time Google used its power to squash a story that was embarrassing to the company.
The incident occurred in 2011. Hill was a cub reporter at Forbes, where she covered technology and privacy. At the time, Google was actively promoting Google Plus and was sending representatives to media organizations to encourage them to add "+1" buttons to their sites. Hill was pulled into one of these meetings, where the Google representative suggested that Forbes would be penalized in Google search results if it didn't add +1 buttons to the site.
Hill thought that seemed like a big story, so she contacted Google's PR shop for confirmation. Google essentially confirmed the story, and so Hill ran with it under the headline: "Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers."
google  news  monopoly 
11 days ago by rgl7194
Orrin Hatch, the Original Antitrust Hipster, Turns on His Own Kind
BEFORE CONGRESS CHECKED out for the August recess, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, made sure to use some of the waning moments to come to the defense of giant internet platforms, contradicting a long history of concern over the power of tech monopolies, a concern that lasted right up through last year.
In a Thursday speech, Hatch warned about the rise of “hipster antitrust,” a flailing attempt at a derisive term for a group of experts and observers who look uneasily at growing concentrations in every sector of our economy. These “hipsters” — for the sake of sanity, let’s just call them anti-monopolists or the New Brandeis movement — believe that antitrust officials in the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have, for the past 35 years, viewed the question of anti-competitive mergers and industries too narrowly, guided by something called the “consumer welfare” standard.
monopoly  gov2.0  politics  antitrust 
11 days ago by rgl7194
There's blood in the water in Silicon Valley • Buzzfeed
Ben Smith is Buzzfeed's editor-in-chief:
<p>The blinding rise of Donald Trump over the past year has masked another major trend in American politics: the palpable, and perhaps permanent, turn against the tech industry. The new corporate leviathans that used to be seen as bright new avatars of American innovation are increasingly portrayed as sinister new centers of unaccountable power, a transformation likely to have major consequences for the industry and for American politics.

That turn has accelerated in recent days: Steve Bannon and Bernie Sanders both want big tech treated as, in Bannon’s words in Hong Kong this week, “public utilities.” Tucker Carlson and Franklin Foer have found common ground. Even the group No Labels, an exquisitely poll-tested effort to create a safe new center, is on board. Rupert Murdoch, never shy to use his media power to advance his commercial interests, is hard at work.

“Anti-trust is back, baby,” Yelp’s policy chief, Luther Lowe, DM’d me after <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmCcm2j4keQ">Fox News gave him several minutes</a> to make the antitrust case against Yelp’s giant rival Google to its audience of millions.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JmCcm2j4keQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The new spotlight on these companies doesn’t come out of nowhere. They sit, substantively, at the heart of the biggest and most pressing issues facing the United States, and often stand on the less popular side of those: automation and inequality, trust in public life, privacy and security. They make the case that growth and transformation are public goods — but the public may not agree.</p>

The noise about making companies like Google and Facebook into "utilities" simply hasn't been thought through. How do you enforce that, under what laws? How do you effect it in one country but not others? Would the US government own it? It's bizarre. But the "New Center", an idea from Americans who in Europe would be seen as solidly right-wing, <a href="http://www.newcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/TheNewCenter_Ideasbook9_10.pdf">proposes some sort of reform of antitrust</a> to "deal" with the dominance particularly of Facebook and Google, but also Amazon. (They're evidently a bit puzzled by Apple's lack of obvious dominance in anything.)
google  monopoly 
12 days ago by charlesarthur
Amazon was tricked by fake law firm into removing hot product, costing seller $200K • CNBC
Eugene Kim:
<p>Shortly before Amazon Prime Day in July, the owner of the Brushes4Less store on Amazon's marketplace received a suspension notice for his best-selling product, a toothbrush head replacement.

The email that landed in his inbox said the product was being delisted from the site because of an intellectual property violation. In order to resolve the matter and get the product reinstated, the owner would have to contact the law firm that filed the complaint.

But there was one problem: the firm didn't exist.

Brushes4Less was given the contact information for an entity named Wesley & McCain in Pittsburgh. The website wesleymccain.com has profiles for five lawyers. A Google image search shows that all five actually work for the law firm Brydon, Swearengen & England in Jefferson City, Missouri…

…The owner of Brushes4Less agreed to tell his story to CNBC but asked that we not use his name out of concern for his privacy. As far as he can tell, and based on what CNBC could confirm, Amazon was duped into shutting down the seller's key product days before the site's busiest shopping event ever.

"Just five minutes of detective work would have found this website is a fraud, but Amazon doesn't seem to want to do any of that," the owner said. "This is like the Wild Wild West of intellectual property complaints."</p>


I'm hearing more and more complaints about how Amazon behaves, both here and through its promotions. Once more, the problem is: what alternative do you have?
amazon  monopoly  abuse 
14 days ago by charlesarthur

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