Ever since the late twentieth century, the rise of the internet has profoundly altered almost every single aspect of our lives. In all likelihood, the lion’s share of people that we have come to know on personal and professional levels throughout our lives – even those we met and knew back before the internet was anything like the internet of today – are now using it on a daily basis.
Our homes are now geared up to connect to the internet – everything from smart meters to home hubs mean that the IoT has grown immensely, to exist in our living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Our cars communicate with the wider network, and, increasingly, one another. Entire relationships can play out online; lives can be lived in simulation games that emulate reality in a purely digital space; products can be purchased with greater ease than any real-world shop is now able to offer and, from our phones and computers, we can entertain ourselves for hours – if not days – on end without ever looking up.
As a phenomenon, the internet has become central to many different theories and bodies of thought that pertain to modern life. This is only natural; from an ethnographic standpoint, this intangible realm is central to dictating daily life.
The Aggregation Theory, first conceived of by Ben Thompson, offers a fascinating glimpse of the world of the complex realm of digital B2B and B2C operations. Read more below.
Like most abstract ideas, the Aggregation Theory is best understood through real-world examples.
First, an instance where aggregation proved to be a positive. Where, once, the only way for the world’s gamblers to explore their interests was travel however far to the world’s casino hotspots – Macau, Las Vegas, Reno, etc – the internet gave rise to the singularity of the online casino. While there are countless sites in operation today, very few would be classed as frontrunners who have aggregated the very best developers and providers.
These frontrunners stand as the intermediary between the games, and the immense pool of players scattered across the globe. They vie for the top spot with No Deposit Rewards, which grow increasingly competitive – and increasingly attractive to players – each and every year, which only serves to ensure that the leading intermediaries remain in the lead.
Now, the industry is thriving, without treading on the toes of its predecessor. Sightseers are still flocking to these real-world destinations, and maintaining thriving tourism industries in each one.
Next, an instance where aggregation is proving to be a hindrance to an entire industry. By the end of 2019, it was reported that Amazon was responsible for almost 40% of e-commerce in America. Their business model was built upon posing itself as an intermediary between an immense range of brands and sellers, and an even larger group of consumers.
While the convenience and competitive price points made them rise rapidly within the consumer market, it also served to funnel traffic away from independent sellers and businesses who did not post their wares onto the site.
The sense that Amazon has grown into an amorphous and bloated entity is quickly permeating its global userbase, and many feel conflicted over whether or not they should continue to support it with the same fervency they may once have done.
The notion of aggregation as a wholly negative or positive by-product of the rise of the internet is impossible to argue. Rather, we ca see its influence in every area of digital life, and use it a tool for predicting what is on the cards of the continued evolution of this incorporeal phenomenon.