Monday, January 02, 2006

I've argued that the Internet is merely (yes, merely) a communications channel, that there is no such thing as an 'Internet business', as these companies are, for the most part, merely (yes, merely) businesses that use the Internet to do more easily what could have been done all along...

For example, while Dell moved their expensive call center operations to the Internet, they still are a computer seller. Ebay is a giant flea market. Monster.com is just a fancy version of the want ads in the local newspaper. Internet dating services are, yes, simply dating services.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that people are getting ripped off by merchants selling electronics through the Internet. After all, as a whole lot of tourists to New York have had the misfortune of learning, these electronics sellers have a long, long history of charging way too much for the merchandise, threatening customers who complain, overcharging credit cards, refusing to take back unordered merchandise, claiming gray merchandise is the US version and so on. They used to prey on callers to their 800-numbers and tourists to New York (the locals know better than to shop at any of these places)... the Internet has merely (yes, merely) given them a wider reach.

But it is the same old rip-off.