Taking Back The Net… Or Just Next Generation Focus Groups?

from the viewing-the-online-world-throught-marketers'-glasses dept

News.com is running a series of stories about people “taking back” the web, returning the net to its “social roots.” It’s one of those ideas that sounds good, until you wonder if the internet ever really went away from its “social roots” and if there’s anything that really needs to be “taken back.” Certainly, since the internet has gone commercial, plenty of execs have tried to remake the internet in the image of previously controlled media, but they haven’t really succeeded for the most part. In fact, the first article in the series, about “grassroots taste makers” online who can make or break certain cultural offerings (movies, music, etc.) doesn’t seem like anything new. Those taste makers have always been there. The central character of the article is Harry Knowles, who the movie industry has known about for years and years. There’s nothing being “taken back” here at all. If anything, what’s going on is that marketers are simply learning to move away from old, misleading, pointless focus groups to getting a bit more honest feedback from people online. That doesn’t seem so much like taking back the internet as marketers finally figuring out how to co-opt the internet.

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Comments on “Taking Back The Net… Or Just Next Generation Focus Groups?”

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Michael "TheZorch" Haney (profile) says:

Re: Eyes Wide Shut

It tiz to laugh.

Few people know or understand that the Internet has been around for a really long time.

It began in the late 1950’s as ARPANET, an experiment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Pentagon. ARPNET was a system of interconnected computers at Strategic Command Air and Missile bases throughout the US. If a nuclear strike too out one of the bases there others could still communicate with one another, the White House, and the Pentagon. D for Defense was added to the name of the department and the network became DARPANET. In the 1970’s universities and companies like IBM, HP and others were given access to DARPANET in the hopes that they could help build a new infrastructure for the network.

It’s during this time that technologies like Email, FTP, IRC, Usenet and Telnet were developed. DARPANET was released for civilian scientific use and handed over to the United Science Foundation to govern. In the early 1990’s the newly named “Internet” was released for public use. The World Wide Web was developed to replace the aging GOPHER protocol and the rest is history. So who can we thank for the existance of the Internet? Why the Cold War and America’s irrational fear of Communism, of course.

As for the article, it is interesting. Focus Groups really never did much good. They’re views were too narrow, they didn’t offer up enough suggestions based on what everyone really wants, and they were often setup in such a way to please the people in charge of the research anyway.

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