The potential of the internet is in self-publishing, self-representation, and self-control of data. The internet equalizes men with corporations in their ability to sell goods and services, publish entertaining content, or just be visible to the rest of the world. Many corporations who look to capitalize on the internet are destroying all of those things.
Low Quality Service
There are several dozen giant corporations who spend millions of dollars on advertising and marketing to attract new internet users to their services. Website Hosting and Website Building are two of these services they sell. They offer you low costs and on the surface it sounds great but when you dig in past the shiny packaging you see it’s smoke, mirrors, and a lot of shit.
Do-It-Yourself Tools Discourage Users
A lot of people who are relatively new to the internet want to build a website, to promote their business, to share their ideas in a blog, so on and so forth. It’s an exciting frontier to them and these corporations have spent years convincing you that all you need to do is sign up for their free service and position a few boxes. But it’s not that simple, and their tools are never as user friendly or as powerful as they’d have you believe. What you end up with is a third rate product which you won’t feel proud of and which feels inferior to the popular internet sites which got you excited about the idea in the first place. This discourages users, they think they’re not good enough to join the internet and they give up, which is a shame.
Control of Intellectual Property
Incompetent Support is The Industry Standard
One thing all of those gigantic website hosting corporations have in common is terrible support. They don’t hire technology experts to man their support desks, they outsource the entire process to large call center operations. The support people operate from scripts and they don’t know anything about computers or how the internet works. Anything more advanced than their scripts gets “escalated” to actual technicians or engineers, who are understaffed and have terrible turn around times. If your website is important, for example for a small business, this stuff destroys the usefulness of the internet for you.
Reliance on Corporate Services
All of these negative consequences are not only the result of their greed and exploitation of users, they serve a second purpose as a marketing tool to drive you toward their corporate branded Facebooks and Twitters, which strip 100% of content control from your hands in exchange for software which “Basically Works”. Now you are selling their service with your brand name, you’re basically an unpaid celebrity spokesperson. The bigger your brand, the more you are being ripped off.
What can we do?
Don’t use giant corporations. The internet is an amazing beast, built entirely by individuals and much of it is run by entirely free software that many of those individuals have simply given freely to the public, to share their creations and to improve the world. Use that free software. There are amazing tools like WordPress that make building websites easier (Not Easy, but Easier), and completely free.
And don’t worry if your website looks kind of like other people’s websites. That’s okay. There are standards of design and layout that are re-used in lots of places because they are the best ways to present certain types of information. Your readers will appreciate your menus being in standard locations and your fonts being readable instead of fancy.