Only Services in an Online World – the copybot cometh

Running a primarily web based biz I spend a lot of time reading and studying economics. Not the formula laden macroeconomics studies, but the real world version. How do we help our clients make a profit while we also make a profit to pay our people more. That version. So I find the copybot threat to product sales in Second Life very interesting. (SL is a virtual world where people interact).

CopyBot Roils SecondLife Economy

… Somebody in SecondLife, a popular multiplayer virtual world, created a
gadget called the CopyBot, which can make a perfect copy of any object
in the SecondLife world. (Here’s a Reuters story.)  This raises some interesting technical issues, but I want to focus today on how it effects SecondLife’s economy.

and O’Reilly’s restates the summary in his post on copybot (where I saw this first) as:

Raph’s conclusion is that infinite copying should be accepted as part
of the online world and products can’t be businesses, only services.

and from the reuters story, Revolution (who offered copies of copybot for sale) suggests this economic revision to your business plan

“Even if I pull this program, plenty of other people out there have it
or have the knowledge to create something bigger and better,”
Revolution added. “My advice is to offer the whole package when you
sell something. Don’t just offer a couch, but a couch that has several
custom poses … work one-on-one with people to create unique things, and
offer customization services instead of throwing up some prims for sale
and forgetting about it.”

Not sure where this is all going, but it will be interesting to watch. And now I will go back to selling services. (note – I emphasized the word "services" in both quotes).