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Re: (eternity) democracy is a bad idea on the net too! (fwd)

At 02:47 PM 12/5/98 -0600, Jim Choate wrote, not in this order:
> Two major negatives to a free-market approach that are never discussed.

>There is also the question of data degredation, in the sense of worth, 
>over time versus the archival/historical worth of the data.

Huh?  We talk about this all the time.  How much does data storage cost,
and how long is the information useful to readers and writers,
and how do these change over time?   Those are some of the main factors
that drive the potential pricing structures -- if you get them
wrong you either bleed money (so nobody wants to offer the service)
or overcharge (so almost nobody wants to buy it), but if you get
them right you might Make Big Bucks, if you're good and there's
really a market for this sort of thing.

>There is some window for abuse in this method.
>It allows a well endowed entity to bias the information available. 

Not in any way that matters, and this _is_ a critical free-market point.
Yes, rich folks can pay for eternity services that carry all the
information they care about, just as they can pay for web pages they want,
because they've got money to burn and can overpay for it,
while you politically correct poorer folks can pay for the information
you want, but only if it's economically viable, just as with the web.
Get used to it.  Information storage isn't an economic good like land,
where they ain't making any more of that stuff, so if rich people
can outbid you for the fixed supply you lose - it's a good that
increases in supply as money gets thrown at people who generate it,
and having rich people making the cover traffic grow is a Good Thing.
	(In reality, of course, the early market will be biased toward 
	porn, warez, and pirated music, just like the rest of the net :-)

As has been discussed on this list before, there are two main
components to the cost - the cost of storage and the cost of retrieval.
Storage keeps getting radically cheaper and larger every year, and
you could provide storage forever for about twice the cost of one year's 
storage, assuming minimal inflation and continual technology improvement.

On the other hand, the cost of retrieval depends on how often the
document is accessed, as well as for how long - you could probably provide
a fixed N accesses per year forever for a low fixed price,
because bandwidth will keep getting cheaper,
but to accommodate any volume of retrievals, you need to charge
per access, either as digicash or perhaps substitutes such as banner ads
if they bring in enough revenue (Geocities apparently thinks they do.)

Bill Stewart, [email protected]
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