More Than Half of Every Dollar Spent Online Goes to Amazon or Google

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Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony Hosted By Seth MacFarlane
Digital economy oligarchs Larry Page and Sergey Brin.Photo: Steve Jennings/2014 Getty Images

Amazon and Google (er, Alphabet) are sucking up more than half of the spoils from the estimated $300 billion internet economy. Fifty-seven cents of every dollar spent online, via e-commerce or online advertising, ends up as revenue for one of the two companies. 

The data comes from a USA Today analysis of the largest internet companies in the Russell 3000, an index representing large and midsize publicly traded firms in the U.S. Just five companies — Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay, and Liberty Investments, owner of your favorite home shopping network, QVC — control 70 percent of the online economy. Netflix, considered a dominant player in the internet sector, is still a relatively paltry earner, garnering just 2.1 percent of the Web’s spending.

For all of its promises of democratization and a level playing field, the consumer internet now bears some resemblance to old-economy oligopolies like the automobile and oil industries. (Google it.)