Sunday, March 27, 2005

We Need OURMARKETPLACE.ORG

canter's ourmedia.org is a cool idea. i'm not sure i get how it will gain widespread adoption without 'network partners' to make use of it and bring the end users, but we'll see. my question is why isnt anyone developing 'our marketplace'? i mean an open source ebay that any user can use to buy, sell, trade, meet or do any activity without any friction; friction being fees and other commercial offers.

how this might work - the idea would be to create open servers and open databases that any other network could replicate and add onto - or that is, anyone could freely aggregate this db into their own and syndicate back into it.

benefits -

- consumers could see all items ranked by price or whatever measure they like.
- vendors could participate without having to pay for the marketing fees to get the consumers.
- consumers wouldnt have to ultimately pay the bill for being marketed to.
- networks could compete on value added services rather than bigger marketing budgets.

example - my friend works for the largest stamp vendor on ebay. they pay about $30k a month in fees (which just went up) and dont make any profit. one might argue that ebay brings him customers and only takes 10% and he can choose to leave it. however, makes me wonder...what if he could just tell the network of his available inventory and prices and the network can make sure any interested buyer immediately knows.

doesnt this sound familiar? it's called NASDAQ and NYSE. imagine if the stock market worked like the ecommerce on the web...maybe i want to sell 1000 shares of google, i can tell ebay or amazon or try 10 other networks that may or may not have an interested buyer. they may charge me varying levels of upfront and backend fees. the buyer then has to rummage through these different networks. because it's so fragmented neither side has a lot information what the last 1000 sold for or all the offers out there. neither buyer nor seller benefits, only the intermediary who looks to profit off of massive fragmentation.

if all the networks talked to each other in the same language this wouldnt happen. i could visit any stamp site and see all stamps and their prices historical and present. the marketplace function would move from customer acquisition and seller aggregation to value added services like surfacing most relevant offers or best reputation info or dynamic pricing.

i believe this can only be done in an open source manner as it must work like the DNS. it must be a freely distributed db and open protocal that any network can use and enhance.

if anyone knows of efforts that approximate this, i'd love to hear. and i'd say that my company, tribe.net, would happily participate in this type of endevour.