Welcome to Customer Commons

How customers deal with good companies.

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About Us

Customer Commons is a nonprofit* whose purpose is to give the world’s customers full power when dealing with business. It was founded by ProjectVRM, which is led by Doc Searls and hosted by Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Our near-term work is on creating terms by which individuals control how their information is used by businesses, websites and apps. Our goal in this work is to do for personal agreements with businesses what Creative Commons (on which we are modeled) does for personal licensing of artistic work.

Our long term work is toward becoming a worldwide membership association representing all the world’s customers. That means we expect to have billions of members and maximum clout with businesses and regulators everywhere—for the good of all. Because what’s good for people should also be good for the institutions that serve them.

Both kinds of work are premised on knowing that there are some business problems that can only be solved from the customers’ side, under the customer’s control. These include:

  • Privacy
  • Identity
  • Personally permitted and controlled use of personal data and metadata
  • Digital wallets that are as personal as the ones people carry in pockets and purses
  • Loyalty that is genuine rather than coerced
  • Customer service (unifying methods across whole markets)
  • Shopping sytems (e.g. personal shopping carts) that work across all retailers
  • Personal record keeping of
  • The true Internet of Things (where personal things are best known and controlled by the persons who own them)
  • Subscriptions (unifying methods across whole markets)
  • Health and fitness
  • Intentcasting
  • Authentication (eventually getting rid of logins and passwords)
  • Global change of address and other personal data
  • Zero-knowledge commerce
  • Fourth parties (third parties responsible to customers rather than to sellers)
  • Standardized methods for interacting with all corporate CRM, CX and Customer Service systems

Keep up with our work here:

*U.S. (California-based) 501(c)(3)

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