The wager was proposed by Benkler in July 2006 in a comment to a blog post where Carr criticized Benkler's views about volunteer peer-production. Benkler believed that by 2011 the major sites would have content provided by volunteers in what Benkler calls commons-based peer production, as in Wikipedia, reddit, Flickr and YouTube. Carr argued that the trend would favor content provided by paid workers, as in most traditional news outlets.
In May 2012 Carr resurrected the discussion, arguing that he had clearly won the wager, pointing out that the most popular blogs and online videos at that time were corporate productions. Benkler replied with a rebuttal shortly after, arguing that the only way Carr could be seen to have won is if social software was considered as commercial content. Gigaom writer Matthew Ingram stated that "Benkler has clearly won. While there are large corporate entities with profit-oriented motives involved in the web, a group that includes Facebook and Twitter, the bulk of the value that is produced in those networks and services comes from the free behavior of crowds of users."
- Arthur, Charles (2006-08-03). "What is the Carr-Benkler wager?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
On the two sides: Nicholas Carr, a former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review; and Yochai Benkler, a professor of law at Yale University whose book, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, suggests that new types of collaboration let people be more productive than profit-seeking ventures.
- Fox, Justin (February 15, 2007). "Getting Rich off Those Who Work for Free". Time. Retrieved 2007-03-03.
In other fields, it's not so clear. In a critique of Benkler's work last summer, business writer Nicholas Carr speculated that Web 2.0 media sites like Digg, Flickr and YouTube are able to rely on volunteer contributions simply because a market has yet to emerge to price this "new kind of labor." He and Benkler then entered into what has come to be widely known in Web circles as the "Carr-Benkler wager": a bet on whether, by 2011, such sites will be driven primarily by volunteers or by professionals.
- Carr, Nicholas. "Calacanis's wallet and the Web 2.0 dream". Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- Benkler, Yochai. "Benkler on Calacanis's wallet". Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- Carr, Nicholas. "Pay Up, Yochai". Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Yochai, Benkler. "Carr-Benkler Wager Revisited". Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Ingram, Matthew (May 9, 2012). "The Carr-Benkler wager and the peer-powered economy". Gigaom. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
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