Wednesday, January 07, 2009

 

Disintermediation

A couple months ago, I wrote about Voxox, an application to tie together various messaging applications.

A number of bloggers commented over the holidays on the shift in focus of their entrepreneurial friends to social media applications, especially because of difficulty making a living on pure play VoIP.

Isn't there still a question of monetizing social networking businesses? In this economic climate, it isn't clear to me that multi-zillion dollar cheques will be written without an understanding of the real revenues to be achieved, not just the popularity of an application.

It is one thing to attract customers; it is another to attract revenue.

RSS feeds enable a means for third party applications to disintermediate blog readers from the original publication site; aggregation tools can thereby capture the advertising revenues from the original content creator.

Will user fatigue set in as all of us continue to receive invitations to join all the networks to which our friends (our real friends) belong.

Will social media applications that tie together disparate networks result in the same revenue challenge?

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Comments:
It's an interesting post, but I have a problem with the word 'disintermediation'.

I know what you want to say, but the etymology of the word you've chosen has to do with investors bypassing an institution to invest directly with users.

People who use readers to aggregate content do bypass the original site, intially, but if they click on a link to read further, they get routed to the original site, thereby defeating your argument of being, ahem, disintermediated.

I came across the same word in some financial results recently as well, and the intent of the author was to suggest that television viewers would get direct access to content via the web rather than going through intermediaries, such as cable companies.

My own recommendation - just say they get direct access, rather than embellishing an existing word with new meaning. I know it happens all the time in the English language, but that's more in the camp of fiction writers than business publications like this.

Meaning is sometimes best communicated with clear, simple words.
 
Depending on the RSS reader, there is often no need to click through to the original website to read articles completely. So, many readers are completely bypassing the home site.

My concept of disintermediation covers more than the term 'bypass' in that it also captures the ability to remove intermediaries at all stages, transforming traditional concepts of consumer relationships.

It is a long word, but it seems to me to be clear and more complete than the alternatives.
 
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