Anonymous Coward writes "I've read slashdot for a few years, posted as an AC a few times and the discussion here is always lively and insightful. Hopefully there can be something mutually beneficial here. I'm writing a paper and I hope that this can cause some lively discussion. It'd be good for the site and be pretty much a free brainstorming session for me. How has the Internet and the environment surrounding it affected the way it is commercialized or people/firms derive profit from it? Not just the Internet itself specifically, but its creation and other things like dial-in BBS and other steps along the way. What changed? What took it from hobbyists (like Christensen from the BBS example above) to profiteers (like, say, a Mark Cuban, or a firm) for the most part? Were regulatory/legal changes a significant factor? Were IT and electronic communications just emerging technologies that were bound to be harnessed? Was it a gradual process or were there watershed moments? Essentially, what caused the Internet (and related/similar modes of communication) to shift more and more towards vehicles for profit rather than hobby?"