Invasion of the Amazons

Written by Sam Vaknin

The last few months have witnessed a bloodbath in tech stocks coupled with a frantic re-definition ofrepparttar web and of every player in it (as far as content is concerned).

This effort is three pronged:

Some companies are gambling on content distribution andrepparttar 108512 possession ofrepparttar 108513 attendant digital infrastructure. MightyWords, for example, stealthily transformed itself from a "free-for-all-everyone-welcome" e-publisher to a distribution channel of choice works (mainly by midlist authors). It now aims to feed its content to content-starved web sites. Inrepparttar 108514 process, it shed thousands of unfortunate authors who did not meet its (never stated) sales criteria.

Others betrepparttar 108515 farm on content creation and packaging. invadedrepparttar 108516 digital publishing and POD (Print on Demand) businesses in a series of lightning purchases. It is nowrepparttar 108517 largest e-book store by a wide margin.

But Amazon seemed to have got it right once more. The web's own virtual mall andrepparttar 108518 former darling of Wall Street has diversified into micropayments.

The Internet started as a free medium for free spirits. E-commerce was once considered a dirty word. Web surfers became used to free content. Hencerepparttar 108519 (very low) glass ceiling onrepparttar 108520 price of content made available throughrepparttar 108521 web - andrepparttar 108522 need to charge customers less than 1 US dollars to a few dollars per transaction ("micro-payments"). Various service providers (such as Pay-Pal) emerged, none became sufficiently dominant and all-pervasive to constitute a standard. Web merchants' ability to accept micropayments is crucial. E-commerce (let alone m-commerce) will never take off without it.

The Miraculous Conversion

Written by Sam Vaknin

The recent bloodbath among online content peddlers and digital media proselytisers can be traced to two deadly sins. The first was to assume that traffic equals sales. In other words, that a miraculous conversion will spontaneously occur amongrepparttar hordes of visitors to a web site. It was taken as an article of faith that a certain percentage of this mass will inevitably and nigh hypnotically reach for their bulging pocketbooks and purchase content, however packaged. Moreover, ad revenues (more reasonably) were assumed to be closely correlated with "eyeballs". This myth led to an obsession with counters, page hits, impressions, unique visitors, statistics and demographics.

It failed, however, to take into accountrepparttar 108511 dwindling efficacy of what Seth Godin, in his brilliant essay ("Unleashingrepparttar 108512 IdeaVirus"), calls "Interruption Marketing" - ads, banners, spam and fliers. It also ignored, at its peril,repparttar 108513 ethos of free content and open source prevalent amongrepparttar 108514 Internet opinion leaders, movers and shapers. These two neglected aspects of Internet hype and culture led torepparttar 108515 trouncing of erstwhile promising web media companies while their business models were exposed as wishful thinking.

The second mistake was to exclusively cater torepparttar 108516 needs of a highly idiosyncratic group of people (Silicone Valley geeks and nerds). The assumption thatrepparttar 108517 USA (let alonerepparttar 108518 rest ofrepparttar 108519 world) is Silicone Valley writ large proved to be calamitous torepparttar 108520 industry.

Inrepparttar 108521 1970s and 1980s, evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins and Rupert Sheldrake developed models of cultural evolution. Dawkins' "meme" is a cultural element (like a behaviour or an idea) passed from one individual to another and from one generation to another not through biological -genetic means - but by imitation. Sheldrake addedrepparttar 108522 notion of contagion - "morphic resonance" - which causes behaviour patterns to suddenly emerged in whole populations. Physicists talked about sudden "phase transitions",repparttar 108523 emergent results of a critical mass reached. A latter day thinker, Michael Gladwell, called itrepparttar 108524 "tipping point".

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