July 21, 2008, 10:25 AM — Web 2.0 innovations have changed forever the way we do business. My wife and I just bought a new car last month. Yes, itâ€™s my 30 year high school reunion this summer, and I wanted to put on my cowboy-astronaut-millionaire suit and arrive in style. We were at least momentarily tempted to support the local economy and buy a Hummer (we live about ten miles from the Hummer plant), but cooler heads prevailed after driving past the gas station a few times and taking note of the rising prices.
But itâ€™s not what we bought, but how we bought it thatâ€™s interesting. Instead of the usual endless dealership visits, we did almost everything online. Not only are pricing details and specs available, there are plenty of reviews, and endless sites where ordinary consumers like me log on and say, in plain terms, what they think. In these days of Web 2.0 and social networking, if a car company puts out a lemon, you can be sure that online chatter will render millions of dollars in marketing spend useless very quickly.
Social networking is already starting to go way beyond simple socializing, and is starting to infiltrate the business world, and more to the point, the partner channel business. The folks over at Dell have their fingers on the pulse. Dell has their own forum, IdeaStorm, to let their own customers make posts, both good and bad, about Dell products. Itâ€™s a great idea, and it gives Dell an opportunity to see what customers really wantâ€”and what theyâ€™re POâ€™ed about at the same time. Theyâ€™ve taken it a step further, creating a new Web 2.0 site for its channel partners called PartnerDirect. This is a great step especially for Dell, which built its success out of a direct sales model as opposed to a channel model.