A dissenting opinion on a recent post by John Battelle about "open-izing" walled gardens

The open web is full of spam, shady operators, and blatant falsehoods. Outside of a relatively small percentage of high quality sites, most of the web is chock full of popup ads and other interruptive come-ons. It’s nearly impossible to find signal in that noise, and the web is in danger of being overrun by all that crap. In the curated gardens of places like Apple and Facebook, the weeds are kept to a minimum, and the user experience is just…better.


Have you seen Twitter as used by the "broadcast class?" Facebook FEATURES Zynga games. Even MSFT never pushed pure evil shit like Farmville into people's lives. The App store is a dense jungle of crap apps and games. It's a miracle you haven't run into them more often.

How is Facebook's "frictionless sharing" bar with music that you clicked on once to enable and now pollutes your screen like any other cruft or chrome any different than ridiculous browser toolbars that companies have been pushing for years? Sure, ANY user could theoretically go into settings or uninstall or whatever, but what we all know from looking at other people's computers is that shit stays on forever.

The weeds are kept to a minimum. And they're much prettier. And they'll copy your address book without asking. No biggie! THAT'S TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN MALWARE!

Most things ALMOST ANYWHERE are crap.

To the extent that FB is the web inside closed doors it will simply replicate the web outside as there's no way anyone, of any size can regulate a community of users and developers the size of the whole world. Smarter users or users who care to will always find ways around crap and suface the "high quality." To the extent that FB is just IM and email 2.0 for many people, who really cares? People used to sit in Hotmail or AIM or MSN to chat or communicate, who cares if that's now on FB's servers? Does FB messenger somehow have less ads or less clutter than AIM? It probably has more.

Will Apple's App store apps break my computer less than spammy websites that install malware? Probably, but it apparently doesn't stop them from taking all my address book info and doing whatever they want with it. So, we have made progress. Malware can no longer steal my credit card info or delete my files or make my computer not boot. Now it can only do shitty things with SELECT info after not asking for it.


And another thing. John continues:

So, does that mean the Internet is going to become a series of walled gardens, each subject to the whims of that garden’s liege?

I don’t think so. Scroll up and look at that set of values again. I see absolutely no reason why they can not and should not be applied to how we live our lives inside the worlds of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and the countless apps we have come to depend upon. But it requires a shift in our relationship to the Internet. It requires that we, as the co-creators of value through interactions, data, and sharing, take responsibility for ensuring that the Internet continues to be a commons.

(emphasis added)

Wait, what? You mean like this value you mentioned a few hundred words prior:

No gatekeepers. The web is decentralized. Anyone can start a web site. No one has the authority (in a democracy, anyway) to stop you from putting up a shingle.

How can I live my life in the world of Apple (or someone else) when they won't approve my App?

Well, I asked John about this in the comments to his post. His response:

As far as I can tell from research to date, if you do get in, you can share out. You're right that if Apple says no, you're hosed. Then again, Apple has let a lot of apps in that run counter to its dominance (IE other browsers, Google Voice, etc)


So, basically, we can "apply" those values to the walled worlds, unless we can't. Just like the open web, but not.