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April 2, 2009

The Exploding Middle Space

Of all industries that have been wiped out by the Internet the greatest casualty has to be the old style go betweens.

The most obvious example of this is travel agents. The internet democratized travel, making it possible for everyone to look for, book and compare prices from a range of providers.

Another example is brokerage houses. Stock brokers finding themselves immediately displaced by E*Trade, CommSec and other online trading and information portals. Again the result was one of democratization. Allowing everyone to make their own decisions as they now had access to the data and means of taking action.

The newspaper, say, used to be the go between for small-medium businesses and their buying public, today e see this happening in industry after industry. Newspapers used to be the go between for the public and in depth news.

Today news is a commodity and you can pull down 12 different opinions of the same event within hours of it occurring. They also used to be the go between for classified advertising and job postings. The first of these is just one of the many casualties of the Google-ization of the Internet and the advent of search based advertising.

But the go between doesn't cease to the contrary - instead of their being one or two stalwart guardians of the communication channel - there is an explosion of providers.

This is basic economics. The economy is finite, not an infinite mound of cash to draw from. As one industry grows it draws on capital that other industries are losing to do so.

Newspapers held Job postings very tightly. Until and took it off them. New go betweens, lower costs and more accessible. We are now seeing job boards, even the large ones, starting to fail also.

The natural place for job hunting has always been through your personal network. And with the advent of networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, looking for talented professionals has also changed dramatically.

Instead of trawling through, advertisers can now post jobs in one of 50 different groups on LinkedIn. All catering to their specific niche market and all containing professionals who are self motivated enough to be managing their career proactively via a platform like LinkedIn. and (Amazon company) are replacing the old go betweens in the book publishing equation, inLinks and pay-per-post advertisers are starting to shatter the paradigm that search is the only way to advertise online, and Google Maps is fast replacing local search champions such as the Yellow Pages.

How can you replace the middlemen and go betweens in your game? (Either as a business stream for you, or as a way of more effectively reaching your market)

Conference organizers? Direct mail and telemarketers? Download sites? Recruitment agencies? PR Agents? ...the list is endless.