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My idea is for all businesses (well, any business large enough to be audited) to have a short statement posted publicly which would describe at a very broad level how they make money. Obviously this would be fairly dull and predictable for most businesses: Supermarkets would say "We sell food and other
stuff for a bit more than we buy it for". There'd be the odd surprise with electrical retailers: "We cover our overheads by selling electrical goods, but make real money selling finance and extended warranties".
However the really interesting ones would be web-based businesses. Case in point: I recently started using AvantGo and was thinking "Should I be paying for this software?" - if they'd had a statement along the lines of "We provide client software freely, but charge media outlets for setting up 'channels' for subscribers to use", then everything would have been clear. It would also be interesting how many would have to admit "Our revenues come from banner ads".
This excellent idea could expose the business plans behind freebies, therefore requiring more people to need counselling. [Aristotle, Jul 10 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]
||'We make money by persuading gullible, greedy people that you can get something for nothing.'
'We make money by incentivizing our cost benefit streams across a broad spectrum of co-linear structures.'
Not sure; if you can't see where someone's profit comes from, do you assume there's something underhand going on?
||Well technically, any publicly-listed company has to publish their yearly accounts so you really can find out where the money's coming from. That's the theory anyway.
||I like it. Sort of the Unspoken Mission Statement. It would be nice to hear those big Fast Food chains describing their Disney/Warner Bros merchandising deals in the cold, calculated language of the boardroom. "We make our money from manipulating young impressionable minds into consumerist greed, thus emotionally blackmailing their parents into buying from us, while simultaneously developing the fat and sugar addictions of the next generation." A croissant from me.