The Economic and Social Role of Internet Intermediaries
As the Internet has grown to permeate all aspects of the economy and society, so too has the role of Internet intermediaries that give access to, host, transmit and index content originated by third parties or provide Internet-based services to third parties. They enable a host of activities through both wired and increasingly, mobile technologies. Internet access intermediaries and hosting and data processing providers provide the platform for new, faster, and cheaper communication technologies, for innovation and productivity gains, and for the provision of new products and services. As to online e-commerce intermediaries, they have brought unprecedented user and consumer empowerment through greater information, facilitating product and price comparisons and creating downward pressure on prices or, in the case of auction platforms, meeting supply and demand and creating new markets. Search engines, portals and participative networked platforms for their part facilitate access to an unparalleled wealth of information, as well as providing opportunities for new innovative activities and social interactions.
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