Yes, folks, these are cyber times, and that calls for timely cyber
Certain search engines that used to be relatively unbiased are
now exploiting their users. For example, if you do a search for
"non-commercial search engines" at Altavista, you get ADVERTISING
related to search engines, but no results [Screen Grab]. If you search for a
saleable product, like "sport utility vehicles" you get advertising
for CBS sports, and thousands of hits [Screen Grab].
"So what," you may say. Well, I happen to think it is of some
consequence that the WWW is turning into a commercially driven yellow
pages substitute instead of the utopian database that various
techno-prophets had foreseen. Is it really so desirable to replace
textbooks with web access, given these commercial trajectories? I
think the web can be useful, to be sure, but the unbridled profit
seeking that has a hold on the internet right now will not, in my opinion,
lead to a more enlightened media system than we have right now.
For more on these sorts of issues, see AnDYlaNd