Summary of The Intention Economy

When Customers Take Charge

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

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The Intention Economy book summary
New online tools can add balance and parity to the vendor-consumer relationship.


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9 Innovation

7 Style


Imagine a world where unknown companies can’t track your every digital move, and where you don’t have to click, agree and assume all the liability in every transaction. Technology writer Doc Searls envisions that world as the future “Intention Economy,” a setting in which people access “Vendor Relationship Management” (VRM) tools that make vendor-customer interactions far more equitable than they are now. Searls intelligently analyzes the web today, the one-sidedness of vendor-customer relationships and the changes VRM can enable. Although tech-savvy readers will enjoy Searls’s conversational style, getAbstract warns that nongeeks might find some of his concepts hard to grasp. Even so, Searls’s vision is relevant to vendors as well as customers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How vendors on the Internet control consumers,
  • How freeing customers to manage their personal data according to their own terms will improve marketing and sales, and
  • How the “Intention Economy” can restore customer-vendor parity.


“Attention Economy” Versus “Intention Economy”
In the Attention Economy, marketers use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) techniques – a combination of science and guesswork – to target, acquire and manage customers. The Internet fueled CRM’s expansion as online businesses perfected...
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About the Author

Technology writer and blogger Doc Searls is a co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and a senior editor at Linux Journal.

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