Users Generate Content, Top Websites Cash In

Nick Carr comments on a recent report about the increasing reach of the top 10 websites.

“Despite the explosion of web content, spurred in large part by the reduction in the cost of producing and consuming that content, web traffic appears to be growing more concentrated in a few sites, not less.”

“What’s being concentrated, in other words, is not content but the economic value of content. MySpace, Facebook, and many other businesses have realized that they can give away the tools of production but maintain ownership over the resulting products.”

“One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.”

I think that more and more, we will be seeing individuals working to monetize their efforts online. While so much of the focus I see now has to do with “can I make enough money blogging to live off of,” I think that the masses will increasingly see the value in joining networks, and finding ways to get small amounts of cash out of their productivity.

You can look to the whole Digg vs. Netscape escapade for issues around the value of the user to the success of a website. As more and more brands come online with a stronger social and user-generated presence, the more complicated this could become for the mid-level players.