It looks like not everyone is totally enamored with the World of Ends. Particularly vocal seems to be Richard Bennett, who rebuts many of the points here (“Cluetrainish hallucination”) and here (“false picture of the Internet”), as well as in the comments section of the document itself.
Bottom line: Searls and Weinberger are hippies, and they see a Free and Open Internet as a key building block of a free and open world, in much the way that Timothy Leary saw LSD in a previous generation. They’re concerned that commercial interests will spoil their metaphor through misunderstanding, and somehow pervert it into a tool of control, oppression, and Big Brother. But they fall into the trap that they warn about, by romanticizing the ‘Net and making it more metaphor than reality.
Always good to keep the debate flowing, I guess. Russell Beattie apparently has a really good dissenting viewpoint here, but I can’t seem to reach his site right now. Maybe later.