iFeudalism And Walled Gardens

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).

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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).

Reference List:

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



11 thoughts on “iFeudalism And Walled Gardens

  1. Hey Alex,
    I like your remediation this week; it nicely parallels the two fuedalisms while also highlighting the digital nature of iFeaudalism
    The idea of walled gardens impacts on industry is interesting to think about, although I’m not sure what exactly the “limitations for digital marketing” are? I would’ve thought that all the user information gathered by iFeudal lords could only help advertisers better target potential consumers? Unless, I suppose, you don’t have the funds to pay Google or Facebook or whoever else for that information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elena, thanks for your comment! You’re absolutely right in thinking that iFeudalism would actually be a big benefit for industries such as digital marketing. To clear it up, the limitations are that the data is not openly available to marketers on the open web. The inventory share is held by the likes of Facebook and YouTube (Google), so its difficult to access this data without using those exact platforms. This can lead to difficulties such as data skewing and the need to have a range of different technologies just to keep track of the data because it’s not all in the one place.

      I would have explained this directly in the post, but I didn’t want to breach the word limit. Your feedback has urged me to add in a hyperlink to the reference I used directly in that paragraph so future readers can find out this information from the exact source. Thanks again for your constructive comment!

      – Alex


  2. Your remediation is very strong and works well with your piece. The three references you have used elevated my understanding of ifeudalism and how content being restricted and protected by ‘Walled gardens’. The content you have discussed within your blog post was the biggest takeaway for me as well from the lecture content, the idea of ‘walled gardens’ and ‘rivers of content’. It’s interesting to look at what and who differentiates free rivers of content and content that is restricted and controlled by a gatekeeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alex, I really enjoyed your post this week, it was obviously well thought out and researched. I especially liked the article by R. Knott in which they bring up the point that it’s better to get on board with the age of Walled Gardens, as fighting changing technology has never really worked for humankind has it?
    It is a bit scary to think of walled gardens as Feudalism as it is such an old practice that we thought we had evolved past, and, as always, there is the issue of just who is gaining access to our information that we so ignorantly share with companies such as Facebook and Google? And what will happen once the walls of these gardens fall and our information is released? Your post brings up a lot of things to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Jaqueline! Thanks for your comment. I definitely felt the same way when I was reading the R. Knott article and that leads into your next point as well, there is something to think about in terms of who is gaining access to all our information. But I will admit, I’m becoming more and more accepting of the idea that if companies really want information about us, they will find some way to get it.


  5. Hey Alex,
    Great post, your remediation highlighted the similarities of Feudalism and iFeudalism but also distinguished the differences between the two.

    It’s somewhat confusing trying to find online what comprise the user makes for being within a walled garden, but your blog post mentioned the collection of user data which is sold to interested parties. Do you think that most people who function within the walled garden realise that they are paying through means besides money to be apart of it?

    I also read this article that you may find interesting stating how Facebook collects data even if you don’t have an account! https://www.recode.net/2018/4/20/17254312/facebook-shadow-profiles-data-collection-non-users-mark-zuckerberg

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Does the collection of user data scare you?
    I tend to usually think it’s not that big of a deal, but if you think about the amount of information the internet has on you, one day in the distant future somebody somewhere may be able to replicate your appearance and personality based on your internet tendencies, and make a clone of you! How weird….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Cooper thanks for you comment! I agree with you in terms of data collection, I tend to think its not a big deal because I reckon if a company wants to do it, they’ll do it regardless of the precautions we take.


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