HG Biz Plan: Hyperport
The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering products and services in this metaverse. My team and I have been brainstorming some ideas of what these products and services will look like.
Hypergrid travelers need a way to find interesting new grids. Back in the early days of the Web, hierarchical directories like Yahoo served the same purpose, grouping together websites by common interest. Eventually, the hypergrid will grow too big, and Google-style search engines will take over, but, until then, hyperports can serve the same function. These airport-style venues will allow travelers to discover new grids — while also creating a way for grid owners, merchants, and other companies to advertise themselves to travelers.
The revenue streams
As with Yahoo, advertising will be the primary revenue stream. However, a successful hyperport company can also leverage its brand to expand into other areas, such as hosting, asset creations and inventories, managing virtual relationships, providing virtual currencies, renting facilities for events, or running marketplaces.
Managing traffic flows, especially as the number of destinations and travelers both increase, will be the major difficulty — and a big opportunity to funnel visitors past advertisements and stores, just as with traditional airports.
A list of destinations, by itself, can not be copyrighted and can be easily copied by competitors. Brand recognition, however, is difficult to match, as are relationships with advertisers and merchants.
Many companies tried, and failed, to duplicate Yahoo’s success by setting up their own Web directories. Eventually, however, the Web grew too large for a directory to make any sense, and Yahoo had to innovate to find other needs it could meet such as email, instant messaging, news, and groups. A hyperport company that fails to find new niches will quickly become irrelevant.