The Internet is coming into its own as a location. Many, many people spend more time exploring, shopping and being entertained on the Internet than they do in their geographic locations.
On a recent trip, I booked my hotel online, bought airline tickets online, bought my dinner – pizza – online (okay, I had to call by phone, but I found ‘em online) and kept in touch with my family online.
I spend more time online than offline. I’m not alone, either. Many people, just like me, identify more with their online location than any geographic location.
This is good news, I suppose. For Internet merchants, more people online means more consumers online.
But when the Internet becomes a community more than a marketplace, the community oriented merchants have the advantage.
That statement right there is golden to those people who understand it and are able to use that information. I’m not just talking about social networking. I’m talking about harnessing the power of communities to drive traffic, to establish brands and to drive sales.
Think about it. Where are people going online? Most of the pageviews are community oriented. Community and entertainment, that is. Just a couple years ago, the average Internet connection was too slow to support efficient video downloading. Now days, video download destinations are some of the most highly trafficked sites on the Internet.
The faster Internet connection speeds open doors to a whole new type of Internet surfing. Instead of folks getting online, buying a few items and leaving, they spend hours on end downloading and watching videos, communicating on MySpace or other community oriented sites.
And the longer people stay online, the more they become a part of the Internet community and more savvy Internet consumers.
In short, the Internet is no longer a catalog or a shopping mall. It’s an entertainment destination.