Companies are jocking up for position on a daily basis to find new customers who will help to enhance their financial and social visibility in the marketplace. As social media continues to play a vital role in commerce, consumers are taking an active position in how products are viewed and sold. Today, there are boundless opportunities for consumers to rate items and give their unsolicited testimonials. The customer service component is key for survival in this everchanging global economy. The most powerful commandment in the world of e-business is Know Thy Audience.
Although consumers have the freedom to write reviews and make valid contributions, they cannot claim ownership of the information. The content is in the hands of the company and is kept in what computer industry professionals call “silos”. In “Cluetrain Manifesto,” Doc Searls proposed a new frontier for consumers that is called Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), where consumers have autonomy over their information. Consumers can manage their own relationships without the help of the larger business community. Personal information will be controlled by the individual and content is yours to manage.
I personally think that this is a very exciting new possibility for the future of the Internet. The overwhelming concern for many is that private information might be sold to the highest bidder. In the world of the VRM system that will be virtually nonexistent. The consumer will be able to track their searches without fearing for the worst. As with any new invention, there will be some hurdles to overcome. The old adage of there is no progress without struggle holds true for everything in life. I am sure that there will be some difficulties in implementing this new technology, but I am certain that we will all be better off in the long run.
As always, I am inviting you to add your comments and suggestions. I would love to hear alternative points of view on this topic. See you next week.