This trend is becoming increasingly prevalent in the digital world and even more so online. If you look closely at the traffic on the web, there is a monopolistic trend emerging.
Think social networking, think Facebook, which now controls over 1 in 7 online minutes .
Think search, think Google. Think video delivery, think Youtube. Think shopping, think Amazon. Think reselling, think ebay.
This great mashable infographic shows just how entangled the big companies and the huge start-ups are.
There is no doubt that many of these services are highly innovative and massively valuable. But, as the industry increasingly eats itself, there is a danger that the dream of an open democratic web where all players have their say and an equal platform, is becoming almost the opposite. The fact that companies are now so reliant on Google and Facebook for their future online success should be a worry. It means that companies are no longer in charge of their own online destiny.
The recent switch by Facebook to timeline is a classic example of the control the platform can exert. Companies had no choice but to spend, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars re-engineering their Facebook presence, so that it existed effectively post-timeline implementation. In turn it means that web users start to experience a very limited view of the world as their experience is controlled through a myriad of different behavioural techniques applied by these key players.
So far, so depressing. Of course there's always a positive side and in this case it comes in the form of this very interesting analysis that came to my attention last week tracking the rise and fall of the web's huge superpowers, since its inception 20 years ago.
While we should be wary of these emerging monopolies, online empires have already come and gone and as is the case with most things online, it happens far more quickly than in the offline world.