Clashing worlds: Wal-Mart's deal with Skype

by David Spark on May 14, 2007

GMSV (Good Morning Silicon Valley) has a great post today about how certain events become key turning points in Internet’s development. The article points to the retail relationship Wal-Mart just announced with Skype. They’re going to be reselling $20 Skype cards along the Web cams and computer microphone headsets. In addition, online dollars spent purchasing clothing surpassed computer supplies.

What’s going to happen with the Wal-Mart/Skype connection may be a repeat of AOL’s purchase of ICQ (Mirabilis). You couldn’t have brought in two more diametrically opposed users. AOL users were the ‘nets newbies and ICQ users were the early adopters and trend setters. I think that’s why there was never true integration between the two instant messengers and AIM and ICQ always stayed as separate entities.

The Ecommerce industry should thank Harry Potter

Another trend setting moment I’d point to was the pre orders of I believe the fourth Harry Potter book (“Goblet of Fire”) on Amazon (not linking because they don’t need to sell more copies). The site got an amazing exclusive deal to be the first to sell the book. But the only way you could purchase it was online through Amazon. My guess is that many people’s first experience with ecommerce was through purchasing that very book on Amazon. Up until then most average Internet users had been timid about ecommerce and entering their credit card information online. But since this was the only option, they put down their fears for a moment. How bad could it be? It’s only a book and it doesn’t cost that much. So they tried it and guess what? The book appeared on their door a few days later. Getting over that hurdle allowed them to make their next ecommerce purchase with considerably reduced fear.

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