Author Andrew Keen does not believe in the so-called ‘wisdom of crowds‘ and, in our current volatile economic climate, he believes — even less — in “web businesses that rely on free labor and crowdsourcing to survive”.
Web businesses that rely on free labor and crowdsourcing to survive are in for a rude awakening, says Andrew Keen, journalist, author and self-proclaimed hater of all things free.
“Is $0.00 really the future of labor in an age of mass unemployment?” Keen writes in a recent blog post. “Of course not.”
“The basic point is that free labor is fine when everyone’s got a lot of money and they’re employed, but when they start getting laid off, I think people’s attitude towards money changes,” Keen said in an interview with Wired.com. His book, Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture speaks volumes in the title alone.
The impact of this downturn for user-gen and crowdsourced businesses, argues Keen, will be declining participation and the resurgence of ‘professionally’ vetted and curated web content.
In Keen’s estimation, this could even amount the demise of citizen journalism.
Keen opined Tuesday in an Internet Evolution blog post that the current economic downturn will pop the open source, Web 2.0 bubble and sites that depend on the kindness of strangers for content like Wikipedia and The Huffington Post will start to see a decline in user participation.
“It will mean the success of Knol over Wikipedia, Mahalo over Google, theatlantic.com over the HuffingtonPost.com, iTunes over MySpace, Hulu over YouTube Inc., Playboy.com over Voyeurweb.com, TechCrunch over the blogosphere, CNN’s professional journalism over CNN’s iReporter citizen-journalism,” he writes.
What do you think, NowPublic? Is a “free economic model” only able to survive during robust and healthy economic times? Are these necessary freedoms or simply luxuries that we can no longer afford?