Taxation is the source of revenue for city-states. It happened in Roman times, it happened in Egyptian times, it happens today. Why, then, do so many online communities insist on letting outside institutions buy real estate on their local billboards as the main form of revenue?
I like the argument that web services are Internet city-states, but I don’t agree on the idea of property taxation, or charging users to live on that web service.
When a user joins a free service, the expectation is for that service to remain free. It feels like a breach of trust to turn around and tax them. Now, if the service were clear to start with this form of taxation (i.e. App.net), it feels within the service’s boundaries to do so. Otherwise, I’d stay away from it.
So how does an internet city-state make money?
I like the idea of native revenue models, or taxation that feeds off of transactions that are native to the city-state. For example, if you have a city-state that thrives off trade, charge a small fee on imports. If you have a town of farmers, charge them when crops are produced.
Because transactions represent high value moments for both sides! And if services can make money of high value moments they will need very few such moments to become self sustaining.
This way you’re not charging the entire constituency for simply being there and owning property. A service’s value should be defined by the value it creates.
“ One side effect of living an always-on digital life is the tension, along with the thrill, that can arise from being able to peep into people’s worlds at any moment and comparing their lives with yours. This tension may be inevitable at times, but it’s not inescapable. It’s possible to move beyond the angst that social media can provoke — and to be glad that we’ve done so. ”
As many have reported, the US Senate plans to vote on their version of a cybersecurity bill this coming week. The bill, which represents the Senate’s response to the House’s CISPA, aims to address cybersecurity reform. As written, the CSA would set up an optional program where businesses deemed critical to the national infrastructure (such as power grids) would be asked to meet cybersecurity standards set by a group of government agencies. It would also establish a protocol for government agencies and businesses to share cybersecurity threat information with one another.
There isn’t a great argument as to why we need this legislation, but there are two important amendments that have been released that make the bill a bit better than it currently stands. These two amendments work by changing the following (via AVC):
The Franken Amendment strikes section 701 from the Senate’s bill. Section 701 provides companies with the explicit right to monitor private user communications and engage in countermeasures.
The Wyden Amendment requires law enforcement officials to procure a warrant before obtaining location data from a person’s cell phone, laptop or other gadgets.
The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 offers a much better future than CISPA with the Franken and Wyden amendments included. This updated bill takes a major step towards addressing overall privacy concerns, and while not perfect, it is a much needed improvement over CISPA and the unamended bill.
If you’re interested, you can learn more about the bill here. You can also get involved here. Keeping the internet open and safe is the first step in protecting the freedom to innovate online. This is important stuff.
Last night, I witnessed Frank Ocean perform at a sold out show at Terminal 5 in NYC. I really enjoyed it and so did the young crowd of 3,000+. Playing through most of his two recent projects, channelORANGE and nostalgia/ULTRA, the crowd kept cheering all night, stopping only long enough to sing along to nearly every one of Ocean’s songs.
A few months ago, I went to a much smaller show—I saw the Weeknd at the Bowery Ballroom. Like the Ocean show, the crowd was young, lively, and diverse. They could recite all of his lyrics, and the energy was unbelievable.
What connects both Frank Ocean and the Weeknd are their upbringings. They are the leaders of a new class of R&B hopefuls—the first of their genre to leverage the internet to debut new music, build an audience, and change the content of R&B. Furthermore, it’s apparent that Frank Ocean and the Weeknd have found fans, through their music and its availability online, that feel genuinely invested in their careers and success.
We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.
I support this.
For a bit of background, the Verge has a great writeup.