World Wide Web Monopoly

One of my family’s favorite activities when I was a kid was playing the board game Monopoly. Like an episode of Gilligan’s Island, we always began to play optimistically in complete denial of how the tale was scripted to end. By the end of the game my father usually bought up half the board, loaded it with hotels, and my younger sister then naively landed on his property unable to pay the consequences discouragingly exited the dining room in a flood of tears.

Google plays board games similar to my dad. Yahoo and Microsoft sit in a smoky room with cigars and hash it out with Google and Rich Uncle Pennybags to see if who can roll doubles the most. Google at the helm of a tiny pewter battleship glides past Go and buys up the most properties nearly every round. With Yahoo and microsoft hot on the battleship’s wake it seems like they are always one roll behind some of the best real estate. Seeming to negotiate nearly ridiculous deals, Google doesn’t just make investments, it invests defensively.

Purchasing Double Click at nearly 10 times its revenue may seem like a reckless buy on Google’s part, but I believe its more of a statement than a venture. Google is in it to win it, and they are making no bones about it. My curiousity lies in Yahoo, what will happen to one who plays the game slowly but surely? With solid investments like UpComing.org, Del.licio.us. and Flickr they have a fairly valuable corner of the board. When the others land on their property they may not be getting hotel values, but they have a steady cash flow that prays on those who roll solid numbers.

During my childhood The possibility of embarking upon game of monopoly was daunting. The challenge to overtake a superpower was thrilling, but watching tiny Toni leave the room in shambles was heart-wrenching. Sometimes people get tired of never winning. They give up and go onto playing games like UNO and Jenga. Other times, it only toughens them up to win more. At the age of 23 my sister will mercilessly kick some ass in monopoly, but it took her getting wooped for years to make it happen. With Yahoos tough skin, I am interested to see if the outcome will be similar.