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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 25 2023, @03:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the circle-of-life dept.

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a "two sided market," where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, hold each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.

[...] Search Amazon for "cat beds" and the entire first screen is ads, including ads for products Amazon cloned from its own sellers, putting them out of business (third parties have to pay 45% in junk fees to Amazon, but Amazon doesn't charge itself these fees). All told, the first five screens of results for "cat bed" are 50% ads.

This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they're locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they're locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25 2023, @06:33PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25 2023, @06:33PM (#1288565)

    It's the human ego at work. Every workplace I've been in is full of hierarchical types trying to gain responsibilities (power) while offloading the labor to someone else. In fact, I've got a theory that corporations' primary role is to absorb narcissists and keep them busy so the rest of us can get on with our pleasant uneventful lives unburdened by the vicissitudes of "success".

    Corporations rise and fall depending on their life cycle, feeding off egos and consuming the humans who spend years gnashing and wailing inside. MY BONUS is SMALLLLLLER than HIS... NOOOO!!!

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 25 2023, @08:42PM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 25 2023, @08:42PM (#1288594)

    I've mainly worked in smaller organizations, where the overriding concern of "will we have enough money to keep the lights on" sometimes brings people together enough that they're not constantly trying to "one-up the next guy." I mean, sure, that's still there, but it's a bit more muted than what I saw in the mid-sized corporation which ran much as you are describing: knife in back, pull self upwards enough to reach next back, rinse lather repeat.

    Finally, one of the small scrappy shops I worked for was bought out by a big corporation, and indeed I do see signs of "climbers" all around the company, but many of them cycle in and out. We're a relatively stable big company (50+ years as a leader in our field), and while those climbers come and go, there's also a core team of "lifers" who quietly float up through the promotion levels and generally just sit back and shake their head at the knife wielders looking for backs to stab. There are also genuine "do good climbers" who get the PhDs, do the community service, and genuinely seem to be enjoying it when they're sent on global travel for customer support - more power to 'em, I wish them well and do not lust after the 20% pay boost that they got and I didn't last year, they earned it.

    🌻🌻 []
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @02:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @02:35AM (#1288637)

      knife in back, pull self upwards enough to reach next back, rinse lather repeat

      Crabs in a bucket. It's usually worse in times of great abundance and prosperity, where world war III can be started by a dog pissing on the neighbor's petunias