When I registered the port-to-port.com domain, I couldn’t get anyone to understand why it was important. It was so long ago that the registration was free and there was only one registrar. Needless to say, people understand the importance now. All of this came up in a recent conversation I was having with a friend in the marketing and branding business. I told her that the Yelp listing for her business was outdated and she asked me, “What exactly is Yelp again?”
As I answered, I found that I can only describe Internet offerings in terms of the “old world” things they are killing. Here is my list of the ten things being killed by the Internet. Add yours if you like.
1. Yellow Pages. I know they are still around, but only because we always find alternate uses for those thick books. They make good door stops or high chairs.
2. US Mail. As the Postal Service discusses eliminating Saturday delivery as a way to save money, I realize that I’d never miss it. In fact, they could go to every other day delivery and it wouldn’t matter much. Anything that is time critical comes to me electronically.
3. Maps. When I was little, our car vacations always started with a visit to AAA to get a Trip-Tik that told us the route and all of the interesting things along the way.
4. Faxes. Sure, my fax machine still runs nearly every day but so few of the incoming faxes have importance that we use scrap paper to fill it.
5. Privacy. I’m not talking about the over-hyped identity thieves. I’m talking about our willingness to put personal information out there for almost anyone to see. We don’t consider much to be private any more.
6. Shopping Malls. I often eat lunch at the food court in the Circle Center Mall. On occasion I people watch during lunch. One of the things that sticks out is the small percentage of mall visitors that are carrying purchases.
7. Scarcity. My car requires special tires that are not generally carried by local tire dealers. I bought my last set from TireRack.com and they were delivered to the shop that installed them in two days.
8. Distance. It no longer matters how far away someone is. I can contact them as easily as if they were down the hall via text, email, VOIP, or even video conference.
9. Ignorance. While we still have to sift thru a lot of garbage, it is possible to become nearly expert on any topic without leaving your house.
10. Disappearance. With so much data being kept on us, it’s nearly impossible to just walk away. See the recent Wired article.
Now I realize that most of these things will never disappear completely. Even I make a couple of purchases at the mall each year. However, these things will never be what they used to be. All of their glory days are behind them. Unless someone comes up with a clever new use for them, these things will fade from popular consciousness.