A Global Approach to the Spatial Diversity and Dynamics of Internet
Geographical Review Early View
American Geographical Society: What is the main purpose of your study?
Janc Krzysztof: The objective of the study was to explore the place of individual countries in digital space through the lens of Internet domains and specific websites. Special attention has been paid to the significant changes taking place in the functioning of the Web, particularly cyberbalkanization (fragmentation of the Internet). This study is based primarily on data from Alexa rankings, the best free source of information available on the behavior of Internet users.
American Geographical Society: What are the practical, day to day implications of your study?
Janc Krzysztof: The research has focused on the positions of domains and their determinants, as well as the positions of specific websites Our study implies that it can be expected that in the near future, US companies will have to face economic rivalry with China in respect to their place within cyberspace. Taking into consideration that each year, the size of retail e-commerce increases, this competition will not take place only in the area of cyberspace, but also within the real economy.
American Geographical Society: How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
Janc Krzysztof: This study relates to other work about the internet geography, especially these which focus on the spatial distribution of domain names throughout the whole world. Taking account fact that the trends discussed in article are related to the so-called Balkanization of the Internet, we could place the study in the framework of globalization research.
American Geographical Society: What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
Janc Krzysztof: The conducted studies showed that Web content development and consumption has changed. Despite the clear U.S. dominance, Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC countries) play an increasingly significant role in the geography of domains. Other interesting conclusion is that regulations of Web functioning and the growing importance of national websites have contributed to deepening the differences between Internet users in different countries.
American Geographical Society: What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
Janc Krzysztof: This study shows the manifestations of the increasing importance of other than well-developed countries in the global geography of domains. It is the part of the process of Internet balkanization. In addition, the analyzed examples show that Internet balkanization confirms the fact that, even in a globalized world, the Web has clear boundaries and has not become stateless – globalization does not necessarily mean sacrificing locality.
American Geographical Society: How does your research help us think about Geography?
Janc Krzysztof: The research highlights the importance of fact that websites content development and consumption can be considered in terms of spatial diversity. Despite the apparent boundlessness of the Web, geography (borders between states) affects the behaviors of Internet users in different countries.
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