I have always maintained that the commercial fallout of the internet and B2C in the 90s was not due to ‘revenue model’ issues. It was the interface, stupid! And the interface is not just a point and click thing- it about the way you interact with the machine to accomplish tasks- or rather avoiding those cumbersome things that you should not be doing, which undermine the very ‘reach-out’ advantage of the net.

What was, or rather is needed for B2C to succeed is tracking user identity and therby enabling smooth payment processing, and an assurance to the user that he will be able to get what he paid for. Also assurance is needed that the user will not misuse what he pays for, by eSharing it. Then one could pay 10 cents for a cybercard, without filling up forms and learning various shopping cart interfaces- not to mention the dozens of passwords to be managed. If you like something, and I am willing to pay the price, it should be done, without any further interaction. Also, the buyer must not be able copy-paste and misuse content.

The promise of simplicity of buying and paying for something is perhaps here at last. The user now just has to decide what he wants and whether the price is right or not- rather than wait for Javascript to tell you that your zip code is incorrect! The iPhone/iTunes System is perhaps delivering the original promise of the internet, today, which could have been done years ago by prepaid internet cards to track users and products and pay as you go- but without getting into mechanics of forms and e-commerce nonsense.

Go Apple, go! They better not mess up in India! Every rural and small town in Asia needs the iPhone/iTunes app & content distribution- not just to buy stuff but to be able to publish their little dreams and earn just enough to live on and dream another day…

Saumil
Mumbai
15 July 2008

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