Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web

A top 25 bestseller of the year (1997, on Amazon.com)

"Savvy advice for Web entrepreneurs." —TIME

"A smart, useful primer." 

"All of us in the emerging field of electronic commerce are feeling our way in the dark. This book reads like a scrawled message warning about dead ends and easy passages left by explorers just ahead of us."WIRED

“Lucid, thoroughly researched, and packed with essential information, this work will serve as an indispensable resource for enterprises doing business on the Internet.” —Library Journal

"Webonomics shatters the conventional wisdom about why the Web is important. These are strategies for capturing attention, adding enormous value to existing businesses, and building all-important customer loyalty. You'll end up hoping your competitors don't read this book." —Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com (after reading a galley copy in early 1997)

The Foundation of Webonomics

New sites on the World Wide Web have been cropping up at the rate of one per minute.  As it expands at this astounding pace, it's clear that the Web's colorful entanglement of words, pictures, sound, and motion is briskly becoming more than just the most important new communication medium since television. The Web is more like a parallel universe that mirrors the physical world in some ways but exhibits entirely unique properties in others.  And if you hang out there long enough, you will slowly discover that there's nothing less than an entirely new economy taking shape on this digital terrain--and a new way of looking at the way this marketplace of information and ideas works. Call it Webonomics.

Webonomicsn:  the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods, services, and ideas over the World Wide Web.

Traditional economics is based on the notion of scarcity—that human desires will always exceed available resources such as food, clothing, and shelter. It was Thomas Malthus, the English economist, who first postulated that populations will increase faster than the food supply. This pessimistic focus on the allocation of scarce resources is what earned economics the reputation as "the dismal science."

Webonomics is anything but dismal.  On the Web, precisely the reverse is true. Since the Web is a fast-growing world of intellectual property that can be copied and downloaded ad infinitum, its supply of resources will continue to soar past human demand for these resources.  Instead of a scarcity of supply, the Web economy exhibits a scarcity of demand.  Indeed, one of the main complaints about the Web is that it's "mind-boggling" and "too overloaded" with information.  On the Web, the main commodity in limited supply is the attention of the busy people using it.  The underlying battle in the Web economy is the ability to command and sustain that attention.