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Take ethernet for example:
Anyway, back to the original topic: are search engines the yellow pages, or the white pages? Business listings, or consumer listings? it's a captitalist society, and you lay your money down and you take your chances...
Arpanet was originally intended to allow Universities to exhange information. The military got invoved in funding, but the intent was never to create a system that would withstand a nuclear war. EMP would make the attempt futile.
I loathe paid listings. I take care of PPC programs for clients. I NEVER buy anything from a paid listing on a SERP.
I don't begrudge any of those PPC folks the money they make, or the search engines their ad dollars. Anything that aspires to longevity has a commerical aspect. Take, religion for example...
( I really need to sleep on occasion, or get coffee transfusions) Think there's a market for that?