Regardless of where you are in the world, chances are there’s some sort of industry out there that has been monopolized either by a single company or by the government.
Monopolies are typically bad for consumers because it allows whoever is in charge of that industry to set prices, since there’s nobody else to be working with. Not only that, customers are entirely beholden to their customer service and conflict resolutions teams and can’t take their business elsewhere. The Internet is changing this for good by connecting those who are trapped in a monopoly with those who can help them escape it for good. Not convinced about the freeing power of the Internet? Here are a few industries that have changed forever, thanks to online players:
Depending on where you live, there are probably only a handful of companies that can supply you with cable or satellite TV with the media you’d like to watch. Some companies even have agreements with each other to have “territories” that they stick to, so they can each jack up the prices in their respective areas. Thanks to the Internet, many people quit purchasing from those companies and found someone else such as Hulu or Netflix to supply their entertainment needs, typically for a fraction of the price.
Processors like Interac and Visa have long been the only way for those who want to take payments via credit card to actually do so. Now, thanks to easy access to technology and connectivity via the Internet, many new providers are coming out to compete with these big players by offering similar services but without the negatives of the big players. Powercash21 is a notable recent example of fresh blood in the payment processing world.
A plethora of hobbies and interests were at one point solely the realm of a physical storefront that chose to specialize in these niches. Often, this meant that people had to drive long distances to find a shop that carried what they were looking for, and buy with whatever price it was listed with minor haggling. But then, with the Internet, there are no long car rides necessary and no need for merchants to use predatory tactics just to stay in business. When it comes to niche items, the motto of the Internet is “You want it? You got it!”
For the industries above and many others, the Internet has been referred to as “The Great Equalizer.” This term has been chosen because the barrier to entry has been significantly reduced for entrepreneurs in just about every industry. There’s no need to buy or rent an expensive storefront, and deal with things such as city permits and upkeep. Whatever way, an individual starting a business and having it keep chugging along via their website is now a valid way to run a business. More and more corporate norms are being discarded in favor of more people-minded approaches. Many monopolies are wondering just how many days they have left until an accessible online alternative comes along.