The debates about financial transactions using credit cards and 'virtual money' such as Beanz, largely centre round security and the ability to exchange goods and information for 'micro' payments. I will not enter this arena as, to my mind the number of very capable and secure methods available are best and ably dealt with elsewhere.
Today, a local bank manager will, reluctantly, identify a specialist in every bank. Certainly there is a special market for Beanz type micro purchasing. With knowledge being disseminated in such volume, a micro-penny on every transaction is worth billions. One can only advise keeping taps on any misplaced money or supposed mishandling. The rumour mill on the Internet is ever ready to complain.
Internet communities have a sense of monetary value and express it in a variety of ways. It is noticeable that in almost every case, a portion of the perceived consumer value is based on a time element as well as the cash value.
One of the most dynamic parts of the Internet is the growth of on-line auctions. Bidding (in time) is a fun and a big adventure for many even though there are some scams about. The big (now reputable) on-line auctions are now valuable properties.
There are a lot of users and they are very successful. They have spawned a new generation of on-line auction goers, dealers and commentators. They have also provided a new form of currency. Buying and selling things with a nominal value measured in all manner of currencies are available with an intrinsic international market value of their own. Implementing the Euro took five years, the Internet created several forms of value exchange in about a year.As a personal view, this makes me tend to believe that the Euro is but an interim currency at best.
The reputation of auctions and their participants is important to the on-line auction houses but is also relevant to companies in the traditional world of manufacture, trade and exchange. Some companies now make there pricing and delivery policy transparent (Rockwell Automation is an example).
The consumer, in this case, can elect to buy at differential prices based on manufactured and logistic availability. Rather than promise delivery in a few days, delivery time and the price for faster delivery are transparent to the consumer. Pay more and you get the last remaining item in stock or pay less and wait for the next
batch to be manufactured but wait for its delivery. Thus there is a new currency which has been developed by the Internet based on trade (auctions) and transparency (factory to consumer time/cost). The unforgiving netzines acting in their communities are providing a new dynamic. Failure to recognise the Internet Society capability to make such choices has a profound effect through a loss of trust and reputation. The results may prove to be very important as e-business becomes more competitive.
This may be a hard one for internet reputation management. The perceived value of goods and services fall within the traditional area of marketing. However, the 'second hand' or more properly the 'second transfer' of value often has an element of reputation
attached to it. For example, a second hand Trabant suffers from a lack of attached brand equity compared to a Rolls Royce. If this brand equity value is tarnished to any great extent on the Internet, the damage is obvious. The perpetrator may be a third party such as a retailer. In the past this may not have been to bad and easily managed. In the Internet Society, the ability for reputation to be tarnished and reputation (brand equity) devalued is at greater risk.