Back in the days when the internet was young, many believed that as it grew brands would become a thing of the past. Leading information economy thinkers propagated this view, including Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian, who published the highly influential book, Information Rules, in 1999 (Varian is now chief economist at Google). The book predicted that the power of brands would shrink as people had access to more and more free information. This has clearly turned out to be wrong. In fact, the web has become dominated by, yes, a few big brands.