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On Disintermediation

By - July 12, 2005

AdageI wrote a piece for AdAge (reg required) which ran this week. It’s here, and I’m told that soon I can link to it outside of registration. I’d love your feedback.

ARE YOU BECOMING IRRELEVANT TO YOUR CUSTOMERS?

Why Marketers, Agencies and Media Execs Need to Understand Disintermediation

July 12, 2005

By John Battelle

Disintermediation is overrated.

Those who fear disintermediation should in fact be afraid of irrelevance — disintermediation is just another way of saying that you’ve become irrelevant to your customers. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a customer, or middlemen of some sort who service that customer, or that the core proposition of your business has disappeared. It just means you’re in a bit of a rut, and as much as you might pine for the past, it’s probably time to rethink things before it’s too late.

Put another way, disintermediation happens for a reason. Rather than staring at its result (and shaking our fists at Google and TiVo), let’s start at the beginning. What’s really going on here?

(continued here)


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4 thoughts on “On Disintermediation

  1. andy says:

    Any idea when you will be able to release the full content? It’s a very interesting insight.

  2. Emil Sotirov says:

    John…

    I liked your article… although at moments it sounds a bit like “making peace” with those you are just about to ritualistically put to death.

    I would like to question one of the basic assumptions underlying the discussion – the “author-audienceâ€

  3. Emil Sotirov says:

    John… (please, delete my first posting)

    I liked your article… although at moments it sounds a bit like “making peace” with those you are just about to ritualistically put to death.

    I would like to question one of the basic assumptions underlying the discussion – the “author-audience” relationship – as a given as something that still needs facilitation by marketers – even in a conversational framework.

    I would argue that – in a deeper cultural level – we live through (for quite some time already) a crisis of the idea of “creation” itself as a mode sustaining its terms: “author” and “audience”. Our culture is steadily re-telling the hierarchical “one-to-many” structures through “many-to-many” network models. In a conversation, we don’t really have a “teller” and an “audience.” Everybody is both “talking” and “listening” in a peer to peer environment.

    So, what kind of mediation such a conversation needs. “Moderating” comes to mind… which may be as good as a Ted Koppel’s televised town square meetings, but is that the conversation you are having in mind? Ted will be retiring soon.

    Then, there is the “creative” in the mediation “business” itself. Once you are “creative”, you stop being “part of the conversation” – you try to take “the center” of it. And this, again, reminds me somewhat of Ted sitting on a high chair.

    My point being, I am not sure that you can really keep the value of “authorship” and “mediation” in the context of a “conversation.”

  4. Fred says:

    I find it ironic that your point…

    2. Join the “point-to