Over on the Development Seed Blog Ian Ward has some interesting speculation about the types of services that could be supported through IM clients like MSN Messenger. Really interesting stuff:
What services can be provided via a chat client? With MSN Messenger you have about 150 characters to write your nickname, then any other information sits on your profile page on a website. What about providing for more immediate, optional space such as: five things I am selling or five things I am looking to buy, second hand.
I think Ian is really onto something here.
It is my own personal belief that although IM has started to mature has a technology there is still plenty of room for innovation in business models.
Customers expect IM to be free, just like they expect search engines to be free. But Google and Overture showed how much room there was for innovation in the business models for search engines. I think there is room for innovation in advertising supported IM.
For example, Messenger knows who my contacts are. Odds are good that if one of my contacts found an advertisement interesting, I would too. Why doesn’t Messenger show me, and all the rest of my contacts, that ad?