Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, September 10, 2004

P2P Networks And Evolved Financial Transaction Mechanisms: New Roots For New Media

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Vin Crosbie anticipates the need for two critical evolutionary steps in the digital media world as it transforms itself from a mass media model to a vastly distributed, grassroots model.

Though my own time estimates would indicate a much shorter time frame that he indicates, I think he strikes important chords when identifying P2P networks and evolved financial transaction mechanisms as critical factors in allowing this evolutionary step to take place.

With them, the new small content producers will be able able to fully reap the benefits that a networked system like the Internet has to offer.

"Yet all that information is remains poorly distributed, is seldom delivered automatically, and is even more poorly transacted online. An online consumer has nearly instant access to almost any type of information from anywhere on earth, but finding that information is usually a chore. Though armed with the Internet's 20th century technologies, we're still hunter/gatherers in this new information world. You might find the precise mix of information that suits your individual needs online if you hunt hard enough, but you must hunt for it each time. Nothing yet automatically and routinely delivers that precise mix to you."

Mr Crosbie casually brushes by the evident emergence of a new group of professionals including curators, newsmasters, researchmasters, enterprise information integrators, digital information librarians and other "splicers" and "mixers" of selected, quality information, without ever mentioning or reporting about their existence.

"The best you can do online today is to try assembling your individual mix from parts you acquire by hunting (via search engines and visiting news or special interest Web sites, blogs, or UseNet Newsgroups), and some parts that might arrive via e-mail or RSS. It's a slapdash, uncoordinated way to feed informational needs in the 21st century."

You will see what kind of slapdashes we are going to put up Mr Crosbie! There will be a whole industry of slapdash-making tools and people will go crazy after them. Actually I can't wait myself to be slapdashing a bit, while dreaming of making this something also useful, and I dare to say, sustainable.

Mr Crosbie:

"If you also create content or want to sell (advertise) a product or service, you have online access to an entire world of potential consumers, but you don't really know whom or how many are actually interested.

The world may be wired, but not yet with any practical infrastructure for selling content at the price points the new supply and demand economics dictate, and with the reciprocal rights and protections both content creators and consumers demand. Despite online media's potential to exactly target content (and advertising) to only those consumers who are actually interested, online media still don't work much better than traditional media."

It maybe that we are not directed completely in the same direction that the past has shown us, and that content will not need to be submitted to the same economics rules we have adopted so far.

For a good part we already know that information wants to be free and we also know that the more we allow it to be so, while maintaining credibility and accuracy, the more this information can be a uniquely powerful vehicle for marketing and exchange of other products and services.

We must understand that this apparently innocuous statement, makes a whole world of difference to how content publishers will think about their business in the near future.

"Creating a universal infrastructure that solves all those problems is much more complex than it appears.

...It will take a generation's time to solve and will require unprecedented cooperation among corporations and among governments."

I do come from another background and outlook on how things change and evolve. My opinion is that this will not be resolved in the ways and through the means that Mr Crosbie anticipates. The forces at play may be larger and more powerful than any government or corporation. We have seen new rules and mechanisms come in place before governments or standard bodies had even become aware of their need. The tipping points may soon change many of the media rules before anyone agrees officially on them.

But here is where Mr Crosbie fires some powerful info-ideas which I think are indeed worth some attention and discussion:

"This universal infrastructure will require two separate foundation layers:

a) one to match buyers and sellers,

b) the other to make transactions.

The first layer will be a swarming peer-to-peer (P2P) system to match consumers' interests and creators' content. It will be P2P due to trust concerns.

Consumers know they can benefit by having their interests and desires matched, but they obviously won't trust any one company or conglomerate with such sensitive information. They won't likely disclose that information to any centralized system.

P2P allows much better content micro targeting than traditional newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, and portal sites can. It allows each consumer (his device, actually) to broadcast his individual interests and seek all creators that precisely match not only these interests, but also requested levels of credibility, etc. Credibility is a concern not only because some content creators could be less than authoritative, but also because some could spam, or intentionally mismatch content.

This P2P system will require a way to rate each creator's credibility.

My bet is this P2P layer will be enabled and promulgated by smart mobs or startup companies, not by traditional media companies.

The latter group will resist adapting to the change as long as possible.

The other layer of this foundation will be transactional.

Total P2P can't work there because cashless payments may require some centralized processing, even if only by an interbank system. This layer requires several specific attributes to work online universally.

It must be capable of transacting any amount, from micro to macro.

...This layer must also be capable of transacting payments by any fungible means, accepting payments by credit and debit cards, checks, money orders, third-party invoice billing to telephone or cable modem bills, and handling any nation's convertible currency. ...

All these problems won't be solved by 2014, but the basic foundations for 21st century publishing, broadcasting, advertising, and paid content will be in place." ...

I really maybe on a substantially different time clock than Mr Crosbie's own. Nonetheless I can't thank him enough for having highlighted the critical importance that these two transformations may bring into the evolution of the media market: from a market of few giants to a market where everyone can be a player.

I may give in to Mr Crosbie experience and print traditions, but new media and the Internet history tell me that what he is envisaging happening 10 years from now maybe already taking place under our noses today.

Just look and talk around and you will see the signs of this. Those small new P2P companies are already working at it. And so are the possible of the financial transaction mechanisms.

What do YOU think is the time frame for this change?

Vin Crosbie -
Reference: ClickZ [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Friday, September 10 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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