I'm frustrated by the number of zero-sum games out there. Every last
damn e-tailing plan, from sendwine to fogdog to etoys to drugstore
(to cite a single sheet of the WSJ yesterday) is in a battle to wrest
sales away from p-tailers.
Oh, I am so with you here. And it's really just a perception of zero sum.
There is not one universal pie of commerce, but an endless conveyor belt of
pies that speeds up or slows down according to demand and desire, so at any
given time there will be more or less pies in a square foot of beltspace.
Seque named Desire: E-Bay has loyal participants. It's not really brand
loyalty due to advertising or popularity, but loyalty due to addiction. Ask
AOL subscribers who remember the per-minute charge. Do you think they've
stuck with AOL not because it was 1) cheaper? 2) easier? ('cause nobody stays
a newbie forever) 3) popular? (it's somewhat of an embarrassment to be
associated with AOL anymore) 4) a better browser? Noway. They use it
because they like the format.
You could argue here that people stick to what they know, that what's learned
first becomes familiar and default. But given the ease with which new biz
and new ways of doing biz gain E entre', I doubt that is altogether true.
It's the difference between the neighborhood bar YOU like because of
familiarity and the wildly popular restaurant with long waits til seating
that EVERYONE likes because the ambience (and yes, the food) is almost
I was an avid (ask anyone) poster to the Atlantic Montly's P&R before they
changed format. Before, the threading of posts made me feel as if I were
part of a r/t conversation or argument. Now, everything is disjointed. I've
complained to Wen to no avail. While I still read the Atlantic, I won't be
dragging my friends in to participate.
So talk of competition, and big dogs . . . whatever - an e-biz success like
E-bay depends muchly on the presentation and 'feel".