OK Computer Commerce

A decade after the beginning of the dot-com boom, and six years after the bust, not every product or service has moved over to being sold via the Internet.

Although companies such as Amazon and Netflix have largely altered the way we shop and rent movies, other companies are either unwilling or unable to adapt to the complexities and realities of the digital age.

One reason for this is that it can be difficult to determine what a customer is willing to pay for something sold online. Often, when a business model built around online sales is presented to a customer who is neutral (i.e., he or she does not care, at all, whether this venture succeeds or fails) the knee-jerk response that comes back is “Screw that — I’m not paying for that.”

An innovative solution to this challenge recently emerged from the world of music. This is perhaps not surprising, since the emergence in the late ’90s of peer-to-peer Web portals that allowed songs to be downloaded (illegally) dragged the recording industry into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

Since then, this industry has seen sales decline at a consistent rate, and innovation is now a requirement for survival.

Services that facilitate purchased downloads have proven to be a growing market, but the issue of how much consumers pay and what they get for their money has fluctuated.

Often, purchased downloads are tagged with digital rights management technology (DRM), which is technology that protects a…


Daniel Margolis

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