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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) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 26 2023, @03:12AM (2 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 26 2023, @03:12AM (#1288644)

    >UBI would provide safety nets for would-be entrepreneurs, so we might see people start more "diverse" businesses.

    I think this would be one of the best / most interesting aspects of such a future.

    If you look at the "wisdom of the ages" from Plato through Galileo, DaVinci, Newton, etc. the authors/inventors/writers all had one thing in common: their basic costs of living provided for.

    For every great enduring invention or idea handed down from a crop picker working all their days in the fields, there are 100s, perhaps 1000s that come from the aristocrats of their day, or people relatively comfortably employed by those aristocrats to do the creative work.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @08:31AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @08:31AM (#1288679)

    So there's 2 ways to take this.

    * One way says the talent available to further humanity is limited by opportunity.

    * The other says the best talent rose to the top in a competitive environment.

    Guess which society inheritees believe in?

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 28 2023, @08:52PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 28 2023, @08:52PM (#1289120)

      Of course it's a bit of both, but in my view there's plenty of talent out there that gets stifled by a lack of opportunity. The competitive environment merely kicks out some of the absolute imbeciles who can't "make it happen" in their roles, giving the next in line a chance to try - but ignoring thousands of others who might do it better but have no opportunity to try. That's why the relative independence (freedom) of UBI would be so great for innovation.

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