Infomediaries are online startups that allow companies to gather information about their consumers to make better investments and purchase decisions. the name was coined back in 1996 by John Hagel and Jeffery Rayport in their article, “The Coming Battle with Customer Information”.
With the spread of the internet gathering information about consumers has become much easier and and useful for businesses. With rewards cards, member programs, and social media, businesses can collect information about user’s interests, likes, purchase tendencies, online and in-store visit frequency, and average spending per week. All of these things as well as a few others help marketers to advertise, innovate, and deliver a product or service that best fits the needs of their always changing consumers. Infomediaries are a new online business model that have only been around a few years. Although, in 1999, AllAdvantage was the first internet infomediary. Unfortunately it did not survive long but that can be blamed on the fact that it was before it’s time.
Infomediaries today operate using the internet to compile information about the consumers of their product or service they provide. Companies like Facebook, Google, Autobytle.com, or BizRate.com provide companies with information about consumers that helps them to better innovate their products or advertise to their target markets. Intermediaries can exist offline and in a way are more private for consumers. Companies with the invention of the internet are able to gather more information than ever before. The privacy of the consumer has been a problem in this field. We’ve recently seen companies like Facebook for example, has been under fire from the U.S. Senate. They were grilling CEO Mark Zuckerberg about how his company, Facebook, and how it discloses it’s user’s information. They asked him what he viewed as private information, that is not given to companies, or viewed as public information.
Companies like this are only beginning. This is a new age of information that desires useful information as we find ways to understand and interpret more and more data.