Over the past three decades, technology companies have steadily eroded the business models of traditional media organizations by digitizing content and advertising. The author witnessed this firsthand as a reporter in the 1990s, predicting that sites like Craigslist would destroy newspapers' classified ad revenue. Pioneering companies like Yahoo, Google and Facebook then came to dominate the digital landscape and became the new gatekeepers of information. However, these tech giants have also threatened media companies by scraping their content and repackaging it. The author argues that media organizations should fight back legally and continue innovating, rather than accepting their inevitable decline at the hands of large tech platforms.
An interesting point highlighted is that some of the earliest internet companies like Yahoo had human "web crawlers" who manually listed websites in the company's directory, showing just how nascent the digital landscape was in the early days chronicled by the author. This provides useful historical context for understanding the author's perspective.