tangor - 9:18 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)
I think there's too much emotion and not enough reality being offered. I know "mom and pop" stores were very emotional when "big box" stores moved in... but that reality of "where the public goes" is key. Look at any major urban area and see how business dynamics operate. It is delusional to not think the same would happen to the internet. It is also delusional to think we'd have several centuries of small shops making bucks since the "electronic age" moves SO MUCH FASTER. After all, the commercialization of the internet is just barely 20 years old... yet we've gone from discovering the new world (some say 1492) to present in just 20 years. Look at your urban areas for were the public goes for goods and services TODAY as an explanation for where Panda and the web in general is headed. bakedjake's restaurant analogy is spot on. If one is to survive these days then the small shop must provide an experience BETTER than the big box AND must continue to grow and expand until they, TOO, become a big box... and that's a tough row to hoe.
I've offered the Wild West analogy before, won't do it again, but will say that the internet will, sooner rather than later, become two levels: Mainstream and Vanity, and there's a possible third: Personal (which is a form of Vanity... just lacks commercial aspects). There will ALWAYS be a Government presence.
In short, there's no surprise Brands are rising to the top... nor any surprise it took them eight years to figure out how to do it... once began dividing budget by moving away from TV, RADIO, NEWSPAPERS. With those budgets (and what they can hire) the big box brands will clean clocks and kick a$$. That's not PANDA, that's BUSINESS. Yet, mom and pops, the restaurant, the early Wild West can still do business... but those will become more localized.