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December 7, 2008

Opportunities abound in a many-to-many world

Many to many discussions, cheap software alternatives and new ways to buy and to shop are just some of the revolutionary aspects of the web today.

Blogs, Twitter, FaceBook updates and have changed how we hear about breaking news, global events, and how we can tap into current opinion. 

Past upheavals of the information age, like news aggregators, Adwords and iTunes have given us a very clear view of the sorts of industries that are rapidly becoming extinct. 

Newspapers, magazines, CD's, the paper industry, plastics industries and movie distribution channels are just some of the areas where we have seen the most dramatic change. 

But what is sprining up to take their place? Is all news likely to be unverified, written by amateurs and driven by opinions? 

The graphic below gives a good idea of one of the recent entrants into a mainstream media area. 

Here you can see that the and easily lead the rest. BUT the Huffington Post is only three years old and was launched on May 9, 2008.

The graph shows a few interesting elements. 

One: The newspapers with a powerful brand, off-line distribution seem to be making the change to an online world. Although the cash flow model is probably something they have yet to come to grips with.

Two: The populist paper (USA Today) outranks them all consistently. 

Three: A young online competitor with no off-line distribution products or channels is able to hold onto a growing portion of the online reading public. To the point where it has drawn even with Rupert Murdochs latest acquisition. (For $5 billion I might add!)

Sure there was a LOT more to the purchase than that. But there is no denying that this online only news outlet has already built substantial value.

Not all of us write blogs, or participate in Twitter, or are on FaceBook. In fact, most of your clients don't.

But people are increasingly turning to blogs and other many-to-many media forms for their news and entertainment. And, most importantly, for learning. 

TechCrunch, Seth's Blog, Gizmodo and provide mixtures of news and opinions. They inform and teach. And we're lapping it up in the millions.

Whats next?

The unseen element of the information age is the ease with whch we can transfer work and communications to places where labor is cheaper. Outsourced IT for example has provided India with a growing and increasingly affluent middle class. 

And if you think that what you do is not in danger... then I wish you the best of luck! (Been watching the rise of Tata consultancy have we?)

What could your consultancy morph into? How can you tap into this growing phenomena to extend your brand, or to create a spin off product in some fashion. 

Have a look at this comparison between and some of its larger, old establishment rivals. 

Because of its online model something such as this might be expected for But wait, there's more.

Every single visitor they get, and every repeat visitor they get that is using their online product, give them a chance to start and continue an ongoing conversation. 

A conversation that, if backed by extra-ordinary performance, will ultimately lead to increased sales, increased loyalty, and increased market share.

How can the many-to-many conversation model help you? 

A YouTube channel with a weekly expert advise tip and technique? (Seen Will it Blend?) 

A monthly webinar on which you can record and set up as downloadable material on your site?

Sell your products online and (gasp) let people comment on them? In fact - invite them to comment on them?

Put one of your products out there, on the web, for free. A small one, but a powerful one. One that makes people come back again and again. Something tied into what they do everyday. 

Something that will intrigue them, give value to them, and allow you to start talking to them.