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« Media 2.Uh-Oh Part 2: Layer Cake | Main | Media 2.Uh-Oh Part 4: Go Wide »

October 16, 2006

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Matt Savarino

Great series - I can't wait to see who gets run over by the truck.

Steve Franco

eBay had a nice long ride during the tech downturn by growing its closed system. Paypal, search, and user generated ratings helped keep the eBay shopping experience convenient enough to keep both buyers and sellers coming back. At least until Google's Adwords began giving sellers an opportunity to be seen without eBay's help. But they are probably the best example of an online only virtual pipe.

David Bofinger

And what makes eBay special as a pipe? It's the metastability of being an intermediary, rather than a provider. If Geocities, say, dominates vanity sites, and I set up a clone of Geocities and try to compete, it'll be hard to get the mindshare but however much I get I can hold, there's no force squeezing me out. Contrast this with eBay, where the big tends to squeeze out the small. That's because for eBay the installed client base wasn't just an asset to the company, it was the service it provided. Sellers came to eBay because they knew there were buyers coming. Buyers came because they knew there were sellers. Someone who had neither couldn't accumulate them. This is why eBay lasted so long. YouTube is like eBay to the extent people find videos by browsing from other videos, but not like eBay to the extent they get e-mailed a URL or find it via Google.

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