Consumer or Prosumer?

February 8, 2008

While reading the A VC blog, an article “who owns a web service” caught my eye.  The article spoke about how us consumers are turning into content generators in this new web called “Web 2.0”.  Be it wikipedia, google, or craiglist; all of these sites use the date provided by the web users to their advantage.  This shows that in todays world, we are the producers of information and us users demand respect by these corporations because it us who give them the tools for their sustained long term earnings or growth.  We should not be considered free leechers of information any more as in the past but profit generators for these large entities.  Web users should be treated as owners – not in the sense of shareholders – but the value disributed between the user and the web site should be fair. 

The traditional business model identifies consumers as one of their stakeholders however it is us now who create information and therefore are not less than being considered owners.  In the traditional business model, consumers are considered stakeholders since the company’s products or decisions affect us in general.  In the traditional model, the marketing department through research identify the consumer’s needs which is replicated into the final product.  However, in this new era the consumers produce content and therefore should not be considered lower than the Corporate owners of the various web entities that simply distribute the services.  Thus value distributed between the web company and the user should be fair.  Google is an example of such a company that has maintained this equality till now. 

We provide the web sites by which the search results are based and they distribute the service.  In return they get profits while us users get additional free services such as Google maps, Gmail, etc.  In addition, involving the consumer in developments would enhance their value even further.  For this new era of collaboration to be successul, I beleive such equality and transparency between the two parties (web user and web company) should be maintained.



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