COMMUNITIES RULE

Ad Age reported earlier this week that eBay is buying up Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies for $2.6 billion, a move which analysts say “turns the entire telecom industry picture on its head, and demonstrates that voice, presence, text messaging and other IP-based applications will be essential for the company of the future.”Blurb_skype

Skype is an Internet communications company, one which uses voice-over-Internet-protocol, or VoIP, to make free computer-to-computer and computer-to-landline calls over the Internet. It was founded 2 years ago, but claims to have 54 million registered users right now with 150,000 new ones signing up each day.

What is of great interest is that Skype, and eBay, are consumer-created companies. Both of these giant companies have been built not by operating officers and marketing agencies. They are the product of consumer communities. They have been built up by their own members…and now they are joinign forces

This is the future of commerce: ubiquitous and free communications technology to connect consumers through authentic networks with internal screening/community governance. Firefoxgray

Communities are making this happen. Just take a look at Firefox, the open-source and community-based Internet browser. It’s giving Microsoft’s Explorer a run for its money. Microsoft has $37 billion in annual revenue and 57,000 employees. Mozilla’s Firefox is run on a $2 million budget and 16 workers. How can they compete?

The open-source browser was propagated by a group of die-hard Firefox fans who started a viral campaign called SpreadFirefox, which used blogs, text and email to spread the message. So far, over 58,000 volunteers have been spreading the Firefox buzz — better security, better browsing, better community and a better brand experience.

It is no doubt that the brands of the future will not be brands at all. They will be whatever their customers what it to be — ever-fluid, mutable, authentic and beneficial. I can’t wait.

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