It's interesting to note the way the web went from being a *technology* to being a *media*. (Right about the time the web stopped being very interesting....) I remember when the first NCSA Mosaic browser came out -- we were all so excited about it and thought of all the cool ways it would contribute to content sharing, cooperation, and research. More than a decade later, and the web has turned into a large, expensive billboard.
It shouldn't surprise me, I guess. The corporatization of the web was probably inevitable.
This is one of the reasons I still hang out on USENET a lot, though. Sure, it's raucous and has a lousy signal-to- noise level, but it involves *content* (if you ignore the endless rivers of spam, that is). There are some groups that are consistently entertaining and have pedigrees going back more than a decade (like talk.origins).
I hope that the peer-to-peer stuff -- like Gnutella -- will give rise to a new breed of internet content, unfettered by the failings of the web browser. The internet is pretty moribund now, and is likely to remain that way until something changes.