Chris Anderson writes in Wired Magazine (see Wired 14.07: People Power) about the power of sites that are harnessing the power of ‘peer production.’ Companies like Amazon, Google, MySpace and recently YouTube are captilazing on the masses.

So far the trend has mostly enriched the companies that found a way to harness the mass generation of free content.

Chris describes an old trend. New models on the web are sharing small portions of that revenue to encourage the masses to participate even more. People have been generating free content for sometime now, whether they are surfing through Google or buying something from Amazon. Both scenarios create knowledge and its valuable.

Now the masses are starting to consider just how much knowledge they want to give away to big companies for nothing. People are waking up their inner capitalist and asking if knowledge is power, why should I give my power to a company that does not have my best interests in mind.

With that seed people across the internet are starting to heed the call of new sites that share some of the value in terms of real dollars back to the content generators themselves.

If you could surf the internet using a search tool and be rewarded with a financial reimbursement versus searching on Google or Yahoo for free, which would you choose? Broadband providers working through proxies in congress are trying to buy a miracle that would reverse this trend. Instead of people being paid to surf (compensating them for the content and knowledge they generate), these companies and politicians and lobbyists are trying to setup a toll way on the internet charging people for access to certain search results through companies like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Their argument is that they own the toll way or the marketplace where information is shared and that they should be paid for its usage by the people providing and receiving the ideas.

Internet 1.0 – Google makes money from people surfing the net with their Search Engine tool and advertising

Internet 2.0.a – Google or the successor to Google pays people their value added share for surfing the net and providing content and knowledge.

Internet 2.0.b – Google pays the broadband providers for allowing for access to the internet and web surfers pay more and more money for greater and greater access to the information from a search engine

Internet 3.0 – Top Secret!

With Internet 2.0.a people will be rewarded by receiving cash for the exchange of the content that they generate. Want a discount from Amazon? Write an unbiased review.

Just spent 30 minutes tracking that article or source through 10 pages of Google search results? Be Rewarded a treasure hunters fee.

Produce a good video or cartoon. Syndicate it and market it through a self publishing firm that ads advertising at the end of the video. They will then share the ad revenue with you and any blog or site that picks up your content through syndication. Everyone shares in the Revenue pie and all sides are rewarded for their valuable contributions compared to the models today where massive internet startups receive billions of dollars for taking the content free. Their not evil, their just taking advantage of the raw energy of the masses.

At one time masses of people would tolerate being used as labor as slaves or surfs or indentured servants, but around the world they have stood up and demanded value for the labor they provided. The days of free labor and free content on the internet are numbered. The troubling question will be faced if the internet is shackled by a Congress on the take from broadband providers.

Which Standard would you prefer to see adopted by the masses?