The Internet Industry

In this chapter we try to shed light on the main descriptive models of the Internet, what is meant by Internet industry and how it is characterized, taking into analyzes the major studies that have attempted to define, structure and measure the economy of the net showing how, in fact, is still missing a frame of reference.

The first chapter is therefore structured in two parts of analysis:

  • in the first part, called general models of the Internet, we try to define and classify the phenomenon of the Internet, according to some drivers of a general nature, and in particular the economic,  relational exchange and technology drivers. Each of these three dimensions allows for a first interpretation of the phenomenon and we can identify: an economic value of exchange between different services (Internet as an economic system), a relational process that guides relations between individuals (Internet as a Complex Adaptive System or CAS), a technological tool to cross sectors, products and services which are complementary (General Purpose Technology, GPT).
  • In the second part we will analyze specific models that describe the Internet industry dwelling on models based on layers, the first models emerged to describe the industry (CREC Model 1998 Model Internet Intermediaries – OECD, 2010; Model Internet economy – IDC, 2011; Internet Stack – BCG 2011), the models based on economic flows, which have tried to define the industry by identifying the economic flows between industries of the Internet (The Internet Money Flows – O’Donnell, 2002 The Internet Ecosystem – Hamilton, 2007), and models that have tried to describe the industry using the value chain approach (Internet Value Chain – AT Kearney, 2010).

After the two parts of analysis will introduce a framework of analysis developed in order to try to give a structured approach to the study of the Internet industry, an approach that we will follow for the remaining parts of this book.