Then, just at the turn of the millenium, the Internet became a market place for physical goods.
During the last few years the Internet has also become a market place for services. Most of the services, just as the majority of the content we find on the net, is "free". We pay for it indirectly by buying physical goods from companies which just happen advertise at the places where we go to look for "free" content and services. This is the most successful business model in The Content Economy so far. But just so far. We know something else will come but are just not sure about what it will be. That is because we are in the middle of a revolution.
This commercial development of the Internet was quite easy to foresee as it was simply an extension of the "old" economy. It was less easy to forsee when people were ready for it. Some of us were just too eager to think people were ready to buy things over the Internet or misunderstood which things they could think of buying. Now the dotcom crash has qualified as one of the great financial crises in modern history.
Nowadays I prefer to see the Internet primarily as a great public park where people can - and do - meet and share information and experiences with each other. Anyone (well, not in countries like China and North Korea where the governments still try to keep people from accessing the Internet) in the developed world can access and choose to visit to have a picnic at any time. They go there to consume, create and exchange information and experiences which they or someone else have encoded into some type of content (text, photes, video...). I call this phenomenon The Great Content Picnic, and it is setting new rules for The Content Economy. Rules that we are inventing and setting together and which the businesses born in the "old" economy have to adjust to.