Big Companies Build Walled Gardens

You may have noticed large Internet companies disregarding consumer choice lately. If so, you’re not imagining things. Some companies are making a series of “walled-garden” moves where the interaction that occurs is within the confines of their service and the service then tracks you online.

LinkedIn announced that they were doing exact that level of tracking two weeks ago. The most famous of the walled gardens was AOL in the mid-1990s. To access the Internet, AOL subscribers first went to AOL.

With most people once again dependent on a handful of platforms for most of their online interactions, walled gardens are returning.

Want to use ad-blocking software? You may get caught in a tug-of-war between Facebook and ad-blocking software. We have a story below for you to read.

Google is behaving in a similar way, starting to make some data unavailable for smaller advertisers. The important distinction is not advertisers, but smaller advertisers. That’s another sort of control, and we have that story for you this week too.

What does all this mean for you? Less interaction opportunities and certainly more requirements to play by big company rules. Inertia will drive their growth through the coming years. It’s their garden. We’reĀ  invited to take in the sights.

But we’ve learned that small businesses and non-profits can beat larger, more established brands and the media that serve those brands. We’ve seen local restaurants succeed against chains and small theater companies beat local entertainment competitors in advertising.

These walled gardens occur when giant firms forget that small organizations are nimble enough to change and succeed when faced with new challenges. Your organization wins because you can outmaneuver the others.

Talk with us about your strategy if you’re feeling the walled garden pinch. You can email me at

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