Building websites is cheap (free in many cases) and its fun. Even without going overboard with commercialization, it is possible to make a few dollars in the process. In many way, websites are the new media publishing tool that revolutionizes communications much like the original printing presses did. Prior to the press, you would need to hire highly educated individuals to perform transcription, and a well-illustrated book could be worth a small fortune.
Now if anything, we have the reverse problem. Since the cost of publishing is so low, we’ve probably reached a point where a lot of the information floating around is of diluted value. The good news is that the total amount of available information has never been higher – and the democratic nature of web 2.0 applications promises an idealized internet where the collective wisdom organizes and assigns value to competing content.
Don’t just call me an optimist, I think of website building as a modern newspaper or television station. An individual, with proper distribution of his/her ideas and a sufficiently compelling argument, can have a profound impact on public perception of events & debates. Typical barriers to entry like limited broadcast frequencies, federal licensing, and expensive distribution mechanisms are gone. Marketing has gone viral, and what is left is a simplified game of wits, where ideas and opinions go head to head with fewer distractions. (As long as you can ignore the trolls and spammers, anyway)