September 21, 2010

Design Patterns for Online Businesses

There's really nothing new under the sun. Most ways of making money, including sophisticated financial products, frequently have analogs from other industries and historical periods. Michael Rappa summarizes the most common business models found online, categorized into nine archetypal design patterns:

  • Brokerage Model—bringing buyers/sellers together
  • Advertising Model—promoting products/services to an audience
  • Infomediary Model—gathering information about an audience and monetizing it
  • Merchant Model—selling goods/service either wholesale or retail
  • Manufacturer (Direct) Model—selling goods/services directly to the user without an intermediary
  • Affiliate Model—providing purchase opportunities wherever people may be
  • Community Model—selling ancillary products/services in a community
  • Subscription Model—charging for ongoing usage of a product/service
  • Utility Model—charging based on how much of a product/service is used

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