23 August 2007

C2C and the valuation of knowledge

The popular Consumer to Consumer (C2C) business model is extending from goods to knowledge. If people can sell what they own, why shouldn't they be able to sell what they know ?

Early (pure) players are Ether and Bitwine from the US and Wengo from France. They allow anyone to register a service and provide a C2C communication and billing platform. A major player, Skype (owned by eBay -the C2C reference!), has recently launched a similar service and this should boost the market given its 170+ millions user base. Another smaller player is Yedda (acquired by AOL in November 2007).

However, the initiative may not prove as successful as expected in the first instance : knowledge is an intangible asset that is not easy to monetize -all the more we are dealing here with informal knowledge or information. Up to now, the only pricing model offered is based on a premium call rate per minute set by the service provider.

Furthermore, this emerging C2C business model is facing other more conventional challenges which seem rather tough to address :

  • creation of value
  • quality monitoring
  • selectivity & differentiation
  • customer retention (on both ends)
  • regulatory issues
  • up-selling & cross-selling strategy

Indeed, unlike B2C business models, such as private coaching for instance, there is no control over human ressources.

Nevertheless, this is also the very reason why this initiative may lead to new usages and ventures by enabling minipreneurship.

I strongly believe there is a huge potential around this concept. I also have a few ideas around service standardisation, interoperability and pricing that could be worth it... basically, introducing a B between the C's like in C2B2C!