Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The future of online business

When I read about the assignment and how we should discuss which companies will be most successful in regards to the future of online business, I reflected back instantly on a question a student asked Robert Quigley, Austin American-Stateman's social media editor, during a panel. The student asked him, "What do you think the Internet will look like in 10 years?" Quigley laughed and responded with something along the lines of the idea he didn't know because certain aspects of the Internet change constantly.

I believe the same answer can be applied to this assignment. It's not easy to gauge whether or not, and how, online business will boom or bust. Experts in the video showed these signs, as many of them admitted they were unsure of how, and if, companies like Amazon and eBay would last. They took a risk, though, and these companies in particular have been successful since.

This video and the previous ones we've watched, as well as discussions we've had in class and the Long Tail article, basically address the same concept: The Internet is all about taking risks.

I believe the Long Tail is one of the best business models when it comes to online business, especially because it drives users to do their own way of promoting their favorite product/band/whatever it is and do it for free. People use the Internet for finding and engaging in information and pioneers of the Long Tail business model recognize this idea, which, in turn, results in a (currently) successful business model, making both the consumer and producer happy.

Of course, business models can be improved and new ones can be created as the Internet and users' preferences change. It's (as I mentioned before) hard to gauge what that business model could be now, but as social networks change and the Internet becomes more advanced, I believe the same concept will be applied to future business models -- one in which companies will continue to engage users and get them involved in order to make a profit.

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