Feudalism existed during the medieval and renaissance eras where lords would have relationships with peasants over property. The peasants were generally free, but they could not sell the land on which they lived and the lords decided how they were to use the land (Mitew 2017).
This ancient practice has transitioned into modern day with the evolution of the internet, as walled gardens have been introduced. The internet allows users to access an abundance of information, as well as creating, posting and sharing content whenever and wherever they like. Walled gardens refer to the various platforms such as Facebook or the Apple App store that restrict this freedom. For example, walled gardens control content, undertake surveillance of information flows and censor any undesirable content (Mitew 2017). This is the feudalisation of the internet (iFeudalism).
Feudalism vs. Internet Feudalism (Original Remediation)
Another element of walled gardens is the collection of user data. McKenzie Wark describes our relationship with walled gardens as “an unequal exchange of information”. Platforms such as Google take a little bit of data about you each time you search for something. This is then sold to any interested parties (Wark 2013).
Not only affecting platform users, walled gardens also have an impact on industries such as digital marketing. This is because online marketing is often driven by using targeted audience data. Walled gardens can lead to limitations for digital marketing, but should be made the most of for success (Knott 2017).
Knott, R 2017, ‘The growth of walled gardens and the closing off of the open web’, Marketing Mag, 22 November, viewed 1 September 2018, <https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/opinion-walled-gardens-knott/>.
Mitew, T 2017, ‘The Feudalisation of the Internet’, Prezi, 21 July, viewed 1 September 2018, <https://prezi.com/qopqxh6ktl1j/the-feudalisation-of-the-internet/>.
Wark, M 2013, ‘Who dares to dodge Google’s information tax?’, The Guardian, 23 May, viewed 1 September 2018, <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/22/google-information-tax-new-state>.
Header Image Source: Saulo Mohana