Customer Commons’ mission is to restore the balance of power, respect and trust between individuals and organizations that serve them, and does not take contributions from commercial entities.
Customer Commons is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, formed as a spin-off of ProjectVRM at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and shares its respect for the customer as an independent actor in the marketplace. It also shares the same founding thesis, which it means to prove: that free customers are more valuable than captive ones—to themselves, to the companies they deal with, and to the whole economy.
As a public-facing organization focused on emerging issues at the intersection of empowered customers and the public good, Customer Commons seeks to educate and inspire change for customers, at both local and worldwide scales.
It does this through research, publishing and events, all angled toward fostering development of tools and services geared to make good the title of Doc Searls‘ book, The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), and its predecessor toward the same purposes, The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual (Basic Books, 2000), which Doc co-wrote with Christopher Locke, Rick Levine and David Weinberger. (Doc started and still runs ProjectVRM, and is a co-founder and board member of Customer Commons.)
Customer Commons is structured toward becoming a worldwide organization of customers, and toward that goal welcomes funding from individuals and foundations, while being prohibited through its by-laws from accepting corporate funding. It does, however, welcome working with companies that support the same goals, as well as educational institutions and other organizations. We all have a lot of work to do, together.