corporations and organizations to purchase a Top-Level Domain registry of their own choosing. For a $185,000 on-time fee, and a $25,000 annual fee, a company can use a more creative suffix. While there are a number of limitations on what constitutes an approved suffix (number of letters, for instance), conceivably, the company Apple could have a website for its iPhone that looked something like this: www.iphone.apple. The use of suffixes changes how people search for information, including searching for companies they wish to purchase products from.
There are many examples of the Internet’s inclusion of a commercial marketplace, such as Bezos’ creation of Amazon.com in 1994. Other sites, such as the auction site eBay, for instance, have also gotten into the business of large-scale marketplaces. In 1995 a computer programmer Pierre Omidyar of San Jose, California, added an auction function on his personal site. Somebody posted a broken laser pointer, which was sold, to Omidyar’s amazement, for $14.83. Omidyar figured he was onto something, and found investors, and the company grew exponentially. When ownership shares were offered to the public in 1998, three years after the launch, Omidyar was an instant billionaire.
Today eBay operates globally with 162 million active users. In 2015 the total value of goods sold through eBay was almost $82 billion. eBay offers a “Buy it Now” option, an online classified advertisement service and an online event ticket trading service.
The Internet has transformed retailing, causing many brick-and-mortar stores to lose sales, some even going out of business. In response, retailers across the spectrum from giant Walmart to mom-and-pop shops have created an online presence to steer customers to their physical stores or to make online sales.
4.5.2 Product Downloads and Streaming 1. Objective: Summarize the shift from ownership to access in media
The computer marketer Apple took e-commerce in a new direction with their iTunes Store, which delivered an intangible product—music. Digitized music was downloaded to customers’ computers or other Internet-ready device. The delivery was non-physical. Like Amazon, the Apple Store quickly won customers and hurt traditional music retailing through stores and mail order. As download technology improved to allow faster video downloading, the Apple Store inventory grew to include television episodes and movies.
A more recent trend involves a technical shift from downloading to streaming media. Streaming involves accessing media (music, television shows, movies) rather than downloading them to a device. This shift has also involved one from ownership of media (such as a song or album) to accessing it via a streaming service. Most streaming services offer free-to-consume access, which is ad-supported, and premium levels, which include subscription membership. Free streaming typically involves fewer capabilities and more ads, and premium subscription services offer increased capabilities and fewer to no ads (depending on the subscription level). For instance, Spotify, a popular music streaming service, offers an ad-supported free service. This allows consumers to shuffle songs from a selected artist but not play a particular song on demand, and consumers are often limited on the number of times they can skip a song. Spotify’s no-ad premium service costs about $10 a month and offers shuffle play, unlimited skips, downloading for offline listening, on-demand play, and higher- quality audio.
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