How the Internet Drives Us Ever Closer to the Perfect Market
I’m not a historian but I’d have to imagine that the World Wide Web is one of the best cost-saving tools in human history, brining society as close to a perfect market as it has ever been.
Theoretically a perfect market should produce the lowest possible prices. A “perfect market” is defined by infinite choices and unlimited knowledge. Basically, customers have access to an unlimited number of choices, and armed with their perfect knowledge, they can find the best product or service for the best possible price.
Of course, a perfect market is never going to exist. Lots of consumers are very smart and savvy, but none of them have perfect knowledge. Between big box stores, online shops, and shopping malls, we have plenty of choices, but we’re still infinitely short of the infinite. Yet the internet is moving the stakes closer to the infinite horizon.
Take travel and ground transportation, for example. You’ve probably heard of Expedia, booking.com, and other booking websites. These sites are used by millions of people each year to find and compare the best prices on hotels, airfares, and other amenities. Before Expedia and similar search aggregators came along, finding a good deal often meant spending hours digging around on different websites, but now, consumers can find great deals in a matter of seconds.
It might be hard for Uber-using college students to imagine this, but just a decade ago there were only taxis – and they weren’t cheap. Now, a ride is just an app away, and the cost is often half or less of what a taxi used to cost.
Throughout my life, one of the biggest annoyances has been booking transportation from airports. A taxi ride from an airport on the periphery of an urban area to downtown could easily cost $50 or more. There have been times where I paid $100 or less to cover huge distances via plane, only to find myself shelling out similar amounts just to travel a few miles. Yet the World Wide Web is changing that with services like Uber, Lyft, and Mozio. It is this increase in options, access, and convenience that bring ground transportation close to the perfect market.
For better or worse, taxis are going the way of dinosaurs. I’ve been in too many derelict taxis, wondering if they’ll break down on the highway. I’d much rather get in a luxury sedan for good repair, and save money when I do so. Now, with more options, each company looks to carve out their own niche in the market.
While Uber and Lyft are more like daily go-tos, Mozio offers an integrated concept that may point to the future of the internet. Mozio offers an API that travel sites can plug into their own website that allows users to quickly and easily book affordable ground transportation. The days of blowing your travel budget just trying to get from the airport to town are, thankfully, in the past.
You’ve probably used Mozio if you’ve ever booked a car on booking.com or through JetBlue – without even realizing it. Travelers can now use Mozio to book ground transportation to and from the airport, to sites, to the office, or anywhere else. You can even select luxury cars, limos, or the express train to and from London’s airport.
It used to be a huge pain to arrange ground transportation, especially if you’re visiting a country without Uber or a similar service, or if you have special needs, such as transporting large groups. Uber can also be difficult to use if you’re trying to arrange a pickup from the airport.
Mozio’s spin on the ground transportation is interesting in and of itself. For a few years, it looked like no one could rise to challenge the rideshare giants. The economics were too good. Mozio, however, enables booking.com and other websites to offer an experience that’s actually more convenient and affordable than rideshares in some cases. Mozio offers up rideshare options like Lyft and Uber on its platform, too. Its service compares rideshare options to traditional transportation with more features but most importantly – it makes sure you have a ride everywhere you go, regardless of any one rideshare operator’s coverage.
It is the idea of the perfect market that breeds innovations like Mozio. With infinite options, companies are forced to stand out and actively compete if they are going to stay ahead. When it comes to perfect markets, this is the potential future, one without monopolies. People seek convenience. We’re all looking to save time and money. None of us are ever going to have perfect knowledge or unlimited choices. Yet, the internet has opened a plethora of choices and made it easy to hunt down information and the best prices.
This has broken the stranglehold of unnecessary monopolies. Taxis previously had a near monopoly on hired ground transportation. Uber, Lyft, Mozio, and others have broken that. The end result has been a dramatic decline in prices and a surge in convenience.