What’s a Good Customer?

For awhile the subhead for our site was, It’s still a timely thing to say, since searches on Google for “good customer” are at an all-time high:   The year 2004 was when Google began keeping track of search trends. It was also the year “good customer” hit at an all-time high in percentage of appearances in books Google scanned*: So, What exactly is a “good customer?” The answer depends on the size of the business, and how well people…

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Toward E-commerce 2.0

Phil Windley explains e-commerce 1.0  in a single slide that says this: One reason this happened is that client-server, aka calf-cow  (illustrated in Thinking outside the browser) has been the default format for all relationships on the Web, and cookies were required to maintain those relationships. Which really aren’t. Here’s why: The calves in these relationship have no easy way even to find  (much less to understand or create) the cookies in their browsers’ jars. The calves have no real…

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Thinking Outside the Browser

Even if you’re on a phone, chances are you’re reading this in a browser. Chances are also that most of what you do online is through a browser. Hell, many—maybe even most—of the apps you use on your phone use the Webkit browser engine. Meaning they’re browsers too. And, of course, I’m writing this in a browser. Two problems with this: Browsers are clients, which are by design subordinate to servers. There is a lot that can’t be done with…

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Just in case you feel safe with Twitter

Just got a press release by email from David Rosen (@firstpersonpol) of the Public Citizen press office. The headline says “Historic Grindr Fine Shows Need for FTC Enforcement Action.” The same release is also a post in the news section of the Public Citizen website. This is it: WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Norwegian Data Protection Agency today fined Grindr $11.7 million following a Jan. 2020 report that the dating app systematically violates users’ privacy. Public Citizen asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general to investigate Grindr…

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Solving Subscriptions

Count the number of companies you pay regularly for anything. Add up what you pay for all of them. Then think about the time you spend trying and failing to “manage” any of it—especially when most or all of the management tools are separately held by every outfit’s subscription system, all for their convenience rather than yours. And then think about how in most cases you also need to swim upstream against a tide of promotional BS and manipulation. There…

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What only customers can do

Businesses love to say “the customer comes first,” “the customer is in charge” and that they need to “let the customer lead.” But the customer can’t come first, can’t be in charge, and can’t lead, without tools of her own: tools that give  her ways to interact in common ways across all the companies she deals with. Ways that give her leverage: She already has some of those tools. The Internet. The Web. EMail. The phone system. Credit cards. Cars.…

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The business problems only customers can solve

Customer Commons was created because there are many business and market problems that can only be solved from the customers’ side, under the customer’s control, and at scale, with #customertech. In the absence of solutions that customers control, both customers and businesses are forced to use business-side-only solutions that limit customer power to what can be done within each business’s silo, or to await regulatory help, usually crafted by captive regulators who can’t even imagine full customer agency. Here are…

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Where there’s folk there’s fire

That headline was, far as I know, first uttered by Britt Blaser in a March 2007 blog post titled The people’s law trumps the power law. It was thirteen years ahead of its time. Among many others, Britt was energized by  The Cluetrain Manifesto‘s 95 Theses, which David Weinberger, Chris Locke, Rick Levine and I nailed to the Web in April 1999. Today the one-liner most often quoted from Cluetrain is its the first of those theses: Markets are conversations,…

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Customers as a Third Force

Almost all arguments in economics are advanced by two almost opposed positions, each walled into the castles of their ideologies, both insisting that their side has the solutions and the other side causes the problems—while meanwhile between the two flows a river of customers who, if they could be heard, and could participate with more than their cash, would have solutions of their own. Customer Commons’s job is giving those customers full agency for dealing with both the businesses and…

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Privacy is personal. Let’s start there.

The GDPR won’t give us privacy. Nor will ePrivacy or any other regulation. We also won’t get it from the businesses those regulations are aimed at. Because privacy is personal. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have invented clothing and shelter, or social norms for signaling to each what’s okay and what’s not okay. On the Internet we have none of those. We’re still as naked as we were in Eden. But let’s get some perspective here:  we invented clothing and shelter long…

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