Nicholas Carr writes:
The hypermediation phenomenon is continuing in the Web 2.0 world of online media. We’re seeing the emergence of another new set of diverse intermediaries focused on content rather than commerce: blog subscription services like Bloglines, headline aggregators like Memeorandum, blog search engines like Technorati, ping servers like Weblogs.com, community platforms like MySpace and TagWorld, tag aggregators like tRuTag, podcast distributors like iTunes, and of course blogs of blogs like Boing Boing. (Many of the most popular blogs in fact play more of a content-mediation role than a content-generation one.) Despite the again common feeling that the web is a force for disintermediation in media, connecting content providers and consumers directly, the reality is that the internet continues to be a rich platform for intermediation strategies, and it’s the intermediaries who stand to skim up most of the profits to be made from Web 2.0.
It’s no coincidence that the most profitable internet businesses – eBay, Google, Yahoo – play intermediary roles. They’ve realized that, when it comes to making money on the web, what matters is not controlling the ultimate exchange (of products or content or whatever) but controlling the clicks along the way. That’s become even more true as advertising clickthroughs have become the main engine of online profits. Who controls the most clicks wins.