Article:
  Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution
Subject:   You just gained a customer!
Date:   2002-12-18 09:54:12
From:   jamesg
Thank you for your article. You made many great points and clearly understand the issues. One area that you briefly discussed involves reputation. In any business revolution there is a time - initially - when low cost providers rule. I believe that reputation will soon become a prime mover in all internet business models.


Do you want a product that's cheap or "free", or would you prefer something that works? Do you want to pay money to a fly-by-night operator or someone with a reputation for integrity?


I have a (low-cost) cell phone service that was I subscribed to based on cost. Their service is horrible (fraudulent billing, dropped calls, etc). Unfortunately so is the service offered by their competitors. When a cellular service company demonstrates that they are good company to do business with I will gladly pay them twice what I currently pay. This is what you have already achieved in publishing. Businesses in many other fields would do well to follow your lead.


You can choose to see "piracy" - or anything else - as a problem or an opportunity. You see opportunities and I look forward to watching your continued success.


James Gregory

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  • Tim O'Reilly photo You just gained a customer!
    2002-12-21 08:38:02  Tim O'Reilly | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    I've been thinking about reputation and related topics a bit lately, and I agree, especially if you broaden the term "reputation" to include related features like brand, aesthetics.


    In his book Air Guitar, Dave Hickey has a great essay about how the automobile industry moved from being a manufacturing industry to a design industry. It strikes me that whenever an industry becomes commoditized, "intangibles" become more important as differentiators.