The COMsumer manifesto: Empowering communities of consumers through the Internet


  • Stuart Henshall



The coming economic era and precepts are emerging as totally different from industrial capitalism. We're learning that e-businesses and their networks destroy many of our basic concepts of production, marketing and distribution. Jeremy Rifkin [1] notes that in this "Age of Access" we are entering an era in which lifelong customer relationships are the ultimate commodities market. This provides a different, more positive, and perhaps more likely view. The Internet is changing business models and empowering consumers to create new communities that combine the power to aggregate rich sources of individually personalized data in real-time activities. Large-scale data aggregators are emerging to navigate and mediate info markets. While information records are proliferating, new standards for content capture and management are appearing. Most companies continue to hope they will control their customers' information assets. However, what if this is not true or becomes impossible? What if consumers decide to band together and control their own personal information? Are you ready to freely give your customers their data records? Are you prepared to live up to the COMsumer Manifesto? This article offers a disruptive antidote to the hierarchical, closed, supply-system, explicit, knowledge-driven, "We Know What You Want" data mine world where many customers feel powerless. This is a world well beyond 1999's "Net Worth" [2] and 2000's "The Cluetrain Manifesto" [3]. Infomediaries are not just trustworthy agents which sit between the vendor and the customer [2], and markets are not just conversations [3]. In this new world, communities sense needs, desires, and wishes for the future and create new data markets - to which organizations must respond or die! We are closing in on the "tipping point" [4] where COMsumers take complete control of their destiny by collectively owning their personal information assets.




How to Cite

Henshall, S. (2000). The COMsumer manifesto: Empowering communities of consumers through the Internet. First Monday, 5(5).