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The Connected Web

Phil Wainewright

Digital Goods Creation Goes Online

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Something feels inherently self-contradictory about the term 'digital goods', used to describe any digital item that is sold online. These are goods, in other words, that never exist in any physical, material sense. They are created on someone's computer, uploaded to a website, and then copied as a stream of bits to anyone who decides to hand over money for them. Examples of digital goods include accessories used in games, images bought for use on your website, or chargeable add-ons to online applications. A recent report estimated the total value of the US market for virtual goods will top $1 billion this year.

Today, news came of a funding round for startup Aviary, which takes digital goods to a new level of insubstantiality. In the past, digital goods have been created using desktop software packages that were bought and installed in the conventional manner. Aviary provides a cloud-based alternative to conventional packaged software such as Adobe PhotoShop, allowing you to create, distribute and monetize your digital goods without them ever having to leave the confines of the cloud.

In a press statement, Aviary's founder and CEO Avi Muchnick said, "We are disrupting the status quo by eliminating the long-held barriers to digital creation and giving creators the tools they need to create, market and monetize their vision." One of those barriers is monetary, for Aviary's basic suite — including an image editor, vector editor, audio editor and other tools — is free to users, with the upgrade to a professional version available for a monthly subscription. That compares very favorably to the significant upfront sums users have traditionally paid for such tools in the physical world, and is likely to lead to increasing evanescence in the profits of established conventional vendors in the space.

Of course, if you strip away all the buzzwords, this is just a SaaS alternative to desktop creative packages. But the way this is being reported I think is a useful reminder of the growing importance of the digital economy and a digital culture that increasingly does things online. Perhaps the phrase 'software as a service' is starting to go the way of 'horseless carriage' - a hangover of an earlier era that is alien to how the next generation will organize their lives.

1 Comment


Thats some press release huh... I'm reading around a dozen top-shelf buzzwords just in your excerpt

Someone's drunk the koolaid....

Phil Wainewright blogs about how businesses are using the Web to get better plugged into today's fast-moving, digital economy.

Phil Wainewright

Phil Wainewright specializes in on-demand services View more

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