Doc Searls writes about “The Intention Economy” as an alternative to the Attention Economy.
In The Intention Economy, a car rental customer should be able to say to the car rental market, “I’ll be skiing in Park City from March 20-25. I want to rent a 4-wheel drive SUV. I belong to Avis Wizard, Budget FastBreak and Hertz 1 Club. I don’t want to pay up front for gas or get any insurance. What can any of you companies do for me?” — and have the sellers compete for the buyer’s business.
There is much value in service consumers being able to state their intention / readiness to buy, and in service providers being able to state their intention / readiness to sell. And much business to be done marketmaking between the two parties.
More generally there is value in removing impedance mismatch between buyers and sellers.
Doc didn’t talk about buyer’s markets versus seller’s markets. In a seller’s market (where there is a scarcity of goods available) a tool for stating buyers’ intentions will probably go ignored. The converse is also true, for buyer’s markets.
The comments to Doc’s post point to a few examples of buyer intention-stating tools, like eBay and Eventful Demand. Craigslist is another. RSS subscriptions. Persistent searches. Want ads. There are lots of examples in the wild.
There are also lots of examples of real-world markets where buyer intention and/or seller intention is unknown or poorly known. These markets represent opportunities for innovation.