And Then There Was 3! How Google, Amazon & Apple Conquer Everything.
I get this insidious feeling when I realize I’ve been snookered. In fact we have all been slowly but surely snookered.
It happened to me twice recently. And it will be happening more and more and over and over again. Today on December 30, 2019, I ordered a small video cable for a notebook computer and ended up ordering on Google directly. I meant to go to eBay… or some other site, but it was just too easy on Google, and there was no shipping. In fact, they even took off 20% of the order at the end.
I should be jumping for joy at the savings. It was like $3.00. But that insidious feeling just keeps on creeping into my brain.
A few weeks ago I was at work late and wanted to order take out Chinese food from a little place across the street from our office in Boca Raton. And the same thing happened. I did a search and found the place and noticed a simple order button. Wholla. Within seconds I had ordered our meal directly on Google. I paid through Google.
Once again, I should have been satisfied and happy. But I wasn’t. In fact I am disturbed. I should be seriously happy. Google reduced my cost by “helping me” order directly from that small restaurant.
So, what’s my problem?
My problem is I have been an expert on the web, e-commerce, online tech business for over 20 years and I know it when I see it. It is the inevitability. I also have an MBA, written 5 books about the internet and startups, have worked on $500+ million dollar websites and have worked on almost every imaginable thing people can order online, including toys, supplements, paper, cabinets, clothing, food, dating events, hosting, telco from dog ramps to pet meds. Bottom line, Google’s growth into e-commerce is the end of the line for our business.
In my main business, the speed dating business, another “Google transition” happened last summer to the event business. With a single change, the event listed on Google, regardless of Eventbrite or Meetup having a say, is now all appearing in a new type of “Event Block” where if you don’t play in that block, you don’t get traffic.
And I see the inevitability for Google. It will happen! With a single change Google will own the event business and eliminate Eventbrite and Meetup’s hegemony. You would think, why don’t they just buy Eventbrite and Meetup? Why would they want to buy these companies, when they don’t have to?
Google can just offer the same services in the event business like they are in the “eBay” and “DoorDash and Grubhub” businesses. They can catch and kill these businesses with simple change… and why wouldn’t they crush them if they don’t need to buy them. It’s e-commerce evolution, you either get crushed or you are the crusher! AKA “Do No Evil!” Where are you now, Larry and Serge?
What I am trying to say here is this is real, not imaginary. The reason I use insidious, is you will notice the Google way has no flash in the pan. It is like a no-nonsense programmer with Asperger’s put together the UIs for the way they roll. And that is how they are doing it. With plain and simple ways to pay for things. No frills, no spills.
Google is like the Aldi’s of Internet companies. Do a lot with few people, maximize revenues, and make sure you have a lot of Gluten Free products.
What concerns me about this slow insidious transition by Google and what should concern all of us in the Internet biz, is this could ultimately mean that if you don’t use Google for selling “anything”, you are missing out. This is like the Highlander Movies. There can only be one! In the web business, basically there will be only 2 gargantuan companies left to do big e-commerce. That’s Google and Amazon.
Amazon is already 49.1% of online sales. If Google takes it’s chunk, what will that mean? It means eBay will be screwed, along with 100 other companies, or whoever is left, meaning Wal-mart, Sears/Kmart and maybe a few minor players out there like the upstart Offerup. Not sure if you know that Jet.com is already part of Wal-mart. What we are looking at here is what we call an oligopoly, which is real close to a monopoly. And with that can come increased pricing, not competitive pricing.
The final story on this is, I rarely now, if ever work on e-commerce sites like I used to. That’s because there are few jobs left in the field. If you are not already working for Amazon or Google or Apple, and you work in e-commerce you are in one of the very rare competitors. Perhaps a Chewy or another small player out there.
Hope all this makes sense to you, because it is all about inevitability, and I just don’t see this going in any other direction than competitive genocide and not consolidation. In consolidation companies get acquired, but those days are behind us. With there being 2 companies left standing, and they both control the largest e-commerce portals in the world, why do they need to acquire anything.
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