Intermediaries – Made Obsolete by the Internet?

IntermediaryIntermediaries is what middlemen do – You bridge between clients or consumers and providers or producers.

You make money by leveraging capital and margin – you buy a widget at 10 bucks. You sell it for 15 bucks. You make 5 bucks without even knowing how to make the widget and spend money for R&D.

Intermediary industry, back then, was lucrative.

Decades ago, the intermediaries industry boom – they exist in virtually anything that can make money or create business.

However, with the more common online business and the presence of Internet, intermediares are made obsolete – some say forever.

So, being an intermediary today is a bad career decision?

The Internet enable people around the world to make deal and do business easily, directly, and in real time – thus eliminating the need for middlemen a.k.a. intermediaries. The end of story?


If you think intermediary were made obsolete by the Internet, think again.

Even today, intermediary is still lucrative, if not as booming as decades ago. Intermediaries take new forms, evolving according to the Internet growing influence in today’s business.

Ebay kills intermediaries, because buyers can met sellers directly – wrong! In today’s online business, intermediaries are so there in the form of affiliate marketing.

Admit it – most of you doing business online are middlemen – intermediaries. You sell products on behalf of others. That’s an act of intermediary.

Another example to make my point…

Real esate was where the intermediaries make fortune – Real estate agents list clients’ real estates to sell to potential buyers in return for a small percentage of sales value.

Many say the Internet ‘kill’ the real estate intermediaries, because nowadays people can buy and sell real estates directly through the Internet – therefore, they don’t need middlemen.

Wrong again!

Even on real estate listing websites, real estate agents – both affiliated to a company or freelancing – are active to seek potential buyers and sellers. So, intermediaries are pretty much there today.

Why is this post is written

I think saying the Internet makes something obsolete is misleading – some say that the Internet also made the newspaper and the radio obsolete – not!

Yes, the Internet is great, but it is still a medium, not another different world that render every other thing obsolete.

So, as a conclusion – does today’s business intermediaries need to pack their luggage and file for bankruptcy? No! Does today’s business intermediaries need to spice their business with the Internet – especially with the presence of today’s social media? Absolutely yes!

In my opinion, the Internet presents you opportunities – not threats.

Ivan Widjaya
A Business Intermediary