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Sources of Income

Here we're going to discuss items that could be sold. You may feel that this is redundant at first, but we're looking at these applications from a P2P point of view.

Advertising

Advertising is a simple way to make money, but very difficult to execute. There are three keys to advertising as a form of revenue:

  • Audience. The people exposed to advertisements.

  • Targeting. The demographics, psychographics, and product history of the audience.

  • Persuasion. A medium compelling enough to cause users to buy or use the product.

One difficult aspect of advertising is proving that you're persuading the correct people—those who are within the demographics and psychographics of prospective product customers.

Is P2P good for advertising? Definitely! P2P advertising takes place on the PC rather than a web browser. The user is exposed and captive longer than with the stateless and uncontrollable browser. As long as the application is running, advertising can take place. If you're leery of advertising, just think about branding a chat application with logos and a theme of the product. There is no reason for banner ads and other in-your-face advertising.

In addition to exposure of advertisements, it's easier to do targeting and demographics. With web systems, the focus is on large databases of information about users. In a P2P environment, the user information can remain on the user's PC and advertisements requested based on that info. Sounds simple, but it removes the need for a multimillion-dollar data center, and the users' info is safely locked up on their PCs.

Primary Products

Primary products are the standards such as word processing and other daily-use applications such as email software, chat tools, or spreadsheets. The P2P version utilizes the peer network for resources. Resources can include data, configurations, templates, and collaboration with other users. For example, a tool for developing business plans would have collaboration and the ability to share templates, and possibly route business plans to banks and venture capitalists. Another example could be a spreadsheet with collaboration, data sharing, templates, and other capabilities of P2P.

Secondary Products

Secondary products are those that are related to a primary product—options, enhancements, etc. One example is a template for creating a business plan. This is related to the prior case except that you're providing services, data, or even physical products. Examples include distributed libraries, testing services, evaluations, and so on.

Tools and Utilities

This category addresses products that are used in the course of software or business development. An easy example is an IDE that allows collaboration, code sharing, and other services. This could also include tools specific to implementing, testing, installing, and monitoring P2P applications.

Support

Support is often overlooked as a source of income. Support includes licensing fees for updates and end-user support services. This is not necessarily an application. You could simply provide support services for P2P applications. You could also develop JXTA-based applications for a product that links a community or group of experts to end users, to deal with support issues.

Training

Training is another overlooked source of income, especially by product companies that strive to improve the usability of their products. The key to remember here is that almost all software is difficult for certain people, who will purchase training. Training can also be supplied for third-party products—really, for any other subject that can be taught, from cooking to higher mathematics. The key is to deliver the content and interaction between teacher and student via the P2P network.

Consumable Materials

Materials are where most printer manufacturers make money. Printers are cheap because manufacturers make sales on the ink cartridges that are purchased multiple times for the life of the printer. A P2P application could be linked to suppliers to allow the application to automatically order consumables. This sounds like a standard web approach, except that this could be done in a decentralized way rather than centralized. For example, a JXTA-enabled printer driver could order a cartridge from the corner store for local delivery. The same could be done for bookstores, groceries, office supply companies, and many other businesses with local outlets.

Publishing

This category includes pictures, video, audio, and even software. The income is by subscription or purchase, and of course advertising. In a P2P application, the advantage is that the distributed network forwards information to subscribers.

Entertainment

When a piece of software has no impact on a business or productivity, it's entertainment. This includes games, of course, but many things can be considered entertainment—chat applications, recipe managers, screensavers—as long as it's not targeted at a business need, it constitutes entertainment. Sometimes these products blur between classic publishing and interactive products, but the key concept with entertainment is that there's no monetary value to the customer using your product. Using P2P, you can add collaboration and other services without the costs of centralized servers or bandwidth.

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