Join The Local Directory Movement
We all agree that the Internet is a wonderful, vast resource. Some aspects of the web are so convenient and so useful that we almost think they are the internet. Examples of this would be instantaneously available weather forecasts, news sites, your Facebook feed, Google Maps and Amazon Prime. These services have become so ubiquitous that they may be more like public utilities now then just corporations. Or should I say, public utilities when they are behaving well, or monopolies when they are not.
But that is not really what the internet was really envisioned to be, nor is it a healthy way for our society to plan for the future. The internet was originally a military project aimed at keeping computers online no matter what happened to any individual city or server. The idea was that if a nuclear war occurred, we would need a highly decentralized system that was not dependent on particular computers to stay live. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the web became an individual-focused place where people who knew how to post web pages could become publishers – it was a very, very free environment where the initial beauty of the internet or “World Wide Web” really flourished. It was a true place of ideas.
No one really made a decision to make the internet “less free”. Interestingly, human nature has done that. People crave predictable structures and processes so we can order our own brains. Since the raw web is chaotic, it has become very convenient to use some company’s systems to view it and use it. So instead of assuming your friend has a web page, you go to their Facebook page. Instead of assuming the lawn chair manufacturer has a web site, you buy the lawn chair on Amazon. Instead of visiting a company’s own web site, you click “directions” or “call” on their Google My Business listing on the search results page.
But there is peril in letting big companies control what gets seen and what gets found. Probably the most egregious example of this from recent times is what are known as “filter bubbles”. A filter bubble is when a web site understands your views or interests and continually shows you more news or content that reinforces the same ideas. Over time, instead of having a wider worldview, you are getting a more narrow view of things, that may or may not be accurate, correct or representative of the world as it really is. True censorship is also a risk. During the last US national election cycle we saw large corporations trying to silence voices by using their control of cloud hosting, payment processing services and account suspensions.
The DH Internet Directory is created to return us to a slightly more basic version of the World Wide Web. On the Distant Horizon Directory, every city and town in the United States has a page (roughly 108,000 of them) Each category of business and industry has a page. Any legitimate business in the USA can have a free basic listing in both their town where they are located and in the category of business they work in. Since DistantHorizon.com is not a cloud-based web site, it is not depending on Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace or the Google Cloud. Since the fundamental structure is not dependent on payment, a payment processor shutting us down would not put us out of business. Although our Beta version is funded by syndicated banners ads, we will be transitioning to advertising fees being paid directly to our company. If it was ever necessary, I can quickly add individual or business social networking features so no one’s voice is lost due to censorship. If I ever had to, I would host this site from a closet in my house or from a computer in some far gone foreign land. The purpose is not ideological, it is just to keep the web a true place of ideas, ideas which are out of the grabbing hands of large corporations and to the extent humanly possible, idiot politicians.
I welcome you to contribute content to this directory, and I welcome you to contact me any time to add your two cents!
Brandon Wilson, Founder
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