Earlier this year, marketing oracle Clayton Christenson went mainstream when the New Yorker published an essay on his breakthrough principle of “disruptive technologies,” the creation of new upstarts that disrupt high-end incumbent companies. And disruption is precisely what e-commerce demands today—because the contest for consumer dollars is an over-simplified zero-sum game: producers are cast as predators, consumers as prey.
Zero-sum is unsustainable. Feeling stalked online, consumers are afraid and angry. And their fear and anger is driving U.S. and EU legislators to make laws that pose some real threats to e-commerce. So now, it’s e-commerce producers who are afraid …very afraid.
Since 2007, AVG Technologies, a digital security company with offices around the world, has been disrupting the online industry with innovation. We were the first security company to introduce a “Freemium” antivirus solution, now over 100 million-users-strong. We were the first to offer a user-controllable do-not-track tool. And, this September, we will publish Wide Open Privacy, a book presenting a disruptive strategy that puts control of personal data in the hands of the individual Internet user.
Our disruptions have addressed fear and anger by empowering consumers. Time now for producers to step up—to disrupt the prevailing zero-sum dichotomy by recognizing that both “predator” and “prey” hunger for a winning finish in the pursuit of happiness.
DON’T eat your customers. NOURISH them.
Stop silently imposing online behavioral advertising—and instead, offer it as a value-added service that accelerates the pursuit of happiness. And provide DNT tools that give consumers a range of granular control. (Next month, AVG will launch the first DNT for mobile devices.)
Disruptive innovation is a new social contract between e-sellers and e-buyers, stipulating upfront and at the bottom line: We need each other more than either of us needs government regulation.
The future of e-Commerce must begin and end with the consumer—the oldest, newest and best driver of innovation.