Congratulations to my friend Gary Vaynerchuk of the Wine Library for his acquisition of Cork'd (see Mashable and the Alarm Clock for coverage). When I had dinner with Gary a few months ago we talked about how the next big opportunity for e-commerce was to weave social networking and blogging tools into the existing infrastructure to directly drive transactions (see excerpt below from an earlier post on social shopping).
The next step in this evolution of commerce will be social shopping or companies leveraging Citizen's Media (blogs, podcasts, videocasts, tagging) to drive commerce. According to Answers.com, "Social Shopping is based on the principles outlined in the wisdom of crowds where a large group of users can recommend products to each other and between them work out what to buy and which ones have the most buzz." I believe this is an interesting area that has not been fully tapped yet. At the root of it, people want to connect. Most people I know tend to check the Internet first to research a purchase and also ask friends for recommendations or reviews about products. The more inefficient a market is, the more opportunity there is to educate consumers and peers leveraging the web.
While the Alarm Clock calls this a roll up in the wine space, I view this as the beginnings of the return of the 3 Cs (content, community, and commerce) with a year 2007 flair. Speaking of the 3 Cs, I also noticed that Amazon bought dpreview yesterday, a leading provider of digital camera reviews and information. Amazon acquiring a content site may sound odd but we must remember that one of Amazon's competitive advantages is its huge database of consumer reviews. As commerce sites begin to recognize the value of content and community again, I wonder who is next on the hit list?