The flavour at the end of the 20th century is that of the Internet - the wired world. The common belief being that if you are not on the 'Net', you could as well be dead. "The Internet will play a key role in re-defining industry".

Dot com companies, then, are here to stay, changing the lives of all. Were you going to say that access to Internet is limited, that it is expensive, that all the other reasons which are routinely trotted out. Taking the model of the real estate portal, the first industry-wide feature that comes up is that each such portal will be an exchange, the portal is an on-line list of properties across the country, the first step in creating a marketplace on the Internet. "People come to this marketplace to strike a deal. It could be leasing, buying, selling.. brokers get a platform to display products to a global audience and build brands and their own brand names."

Viewers can list their demands, so that "the market is going to the customer, instead of the customer having go to the market."

As this is true for the dot com phenomenon; that it will be driven by the computer, who will want these services, most of which will be free. So revenue streams will come form other sources. It is all about empowering the customer, who can surf for better choices. But what of all these start ups; will there be space enough for all? Who will survive? And equally to the point, how many will survive?

Yes, there will have to be a shakeout in the industry. About 10 per cent will survive, there will be lots of mergers, acquisitions the Internet is a game of alliance. So, you can not create everything yourself. The first lesson here is that you must embrace the industry and allow it to embrace you, so that there's business for everyone. To ensure survival and be part of that 10 per cent , companies will have to have a revenue model which works and is sustainable over a long period.

Now the nest step is to go to the business to customer (B2C), followed by business to business (B2B).

One reason the B2B segment could take time is that there is an existing business model, and so long as one or both the parties do not want transparency in transactions, it will take time. Whereas in the B2C segment, there is no existing model and the customer is pushing so it will grow faster. "Cliques exist in the B2B model and it is difficult to break them. Corruption can be eliminated but are businesses ready for it? "Over a period of time, confidence will be built up so that there will be no need for a hybrid system in the B2B segment, which can get completely web-based, as the B2C segment. And, of course, the faster the consumer pushes, the faster things will change.

The expense for dot com companies are mainly in branding and getting and retaining people. After all, there is a lot of venture capital chasing all, or most start ups. For the first three years, a dot com company will not make money. It will depend on the market and the scalability of the model. Which means that such vertical portals must go global, in addition to trying up with horizontals, to emerge as regional players, in this case , at least the Asian region. This will bring in more revenue opportunities and markets. Eventually technology will spread because users will see financial gain in it, even as it teaches them how to build successful revenue streams.




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