Press "Enter" to skip to content

Five Categories For The Entire Internet

I was at a presentation recently where the speaker presented what he referred to as “the five pillars of the Internet”, his categorization for the entire Internet. I’d never heard the categorization before so it caught my attention. I’ve been musing over these pillars ever since and have decided to hold them as “true” until someone comes up with a better categorization. So here they are, as proposed, for your debating pleasure:

  • Search: Finding the stuff when you need it
  • Content: The stuff you actually need (words, data, pictures, video, music, etc.)
  • Marketplaces: The exchanges for goods and services
  • Payments: The central mechanism to trigger the flow of goods and services
  • Communications: The function of interaction (email, chat, voice, video)

You’ll notice that Advertising is not one of these pillars despite the fact that Advertising essentially funds the Internet. I would guess that the rationale is obvious in that Advertising can’t really be a pillar in the Internet anymore than it can be a pillar in the traditional media (The Shopping Channel maybe as a notable exception) and instead acts as more as the cement mix in most of the pillars keeping them standing (ok, I know I’m killing this metaphor). Is this it then, the final blueprint for the Internet? Or is there something missing? Feel free to comment at will.


  1. Joy Boyson
    Joy Boyson February 23, 2007

    Sub-divide 2) Content…
    To use Web 1.0-terms (push vs. pull) and in Web 2.0-speak (non-UGC vs. UGC)…
    I just ran through an exercise in documenting 2007 sources like Wikipedia (living, breathing, collaborative content… Does the APA format still hold for footnotes? haha)

  2. Ken Schafer - One Degree
    Ken Schafer - One Degree February 23, 2007

    At the least I’d want to add “Utility” or “Tools” as another pillar (I fear we’re building the Parthanon here).
    Increasingly people go online to DO things – manage bank account, invoice customers, organize to-do lists, set-up and track web analytics, use an online calendar or word processor or spreadsheet – you get the picture.
    I’m also not sure that “Search” is something people go online to do – it’s just a way to get to what you want. By that logic I’d suggest “Bookmarking” as a pillar. So let’s take Search off!

  3. Tom Bowman
    Tom Bowman February 23, 2007

    I think you are missing ‘entertainment’ as a pillar. That is the playing of games either casually like solitaire or more intensely like XBox Live

Comments are closed.