Micro-Monetization


Yes, I just made up a new buzzword, micro-monetization, which is meant to describe a huge trend online to create services to monetize things that previously couldn't be monetized because they were too fleeting, too small or too difficult to bring buyer and seller together. It's a fascinating area full of large, latent opportunities, and I believe B2B publishers can find opportunity here as well.

What they heck I am talking about? Consider one of the best-known examples of the genre, AirBNB.com. This service allows people to rent out their apartments or even spare bedrooms to strangers as a low-cost alternative to hotels. Not to be outdone, another service called Camp In My Garden actually allows people to rent out their backyards to campers. And it's not just real estate. RelayRides will let you rent out your car to strangers by the hour or by the day.

There are also numerous services that let car services sell their down time efficiently. Consider PlaneFinder.com and EmptyLegMarket.com, both of which sell empty legs on private jet itineraries. My point is that that there is remarkable activity, creativity and opportunity in this area, but the focus so far has been consumer-oriented. Can this work in business? Absolutely. Consider the example of GetLoaded.com, one of several services to help truckers find cargo to haul on what would otherwise be an empty trip home.

Companies such as LoopNet help businesses sub-lease excess space. Put your creativity to work. Does your vertical market have expensive capital equipment or facilities that typically aren't fully utilized? Are there inefficiencies you can address on a spot market basis - opportunistically matching buyers and sellers? Here are just a few top-of-head examples to get you thinking: would restaurants rent out their kitchens on the days they are closed to the growing number of people creating small batch products for sale? Could companies rent out their parking lots at night to truckers seeking a safe, hassle-free place to park overnight? Could companies rent out their conference rooms to other companies looking for a place for out-of-town meetings? Crazy ideas? Perhaps. But who would have thought that you could build a business letting people rent their backyards? And don't get caught up in liability and other legal concerns right out of the box - many of the companies cited above pushed ahead despite myriad legal vagaries.

So put your thinking caps on. You know the players in your market, and as importantly, they know you. That gives you a credible, neutral central market position that will go a long way to building out a micro-monetization opportunity in your market.

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