This article from the Washington Post (via BizReport) talks about another effective use of the Net I don’t see covered much — micro-commerce sites. By focussing on incredibly small niches and keeping costs tight, a small company can build a nice business online. Instead of thinking about e-commerce as producing the “next Walmart”, I think it is more interesting to look at its potential to create the next “corner barbershop”. i.e. a nice business for two or three people to profit from that serve a specific need of a community.

Of course, online, that community is not defined by the neighborhood they live in, but more likely by an obscure passion.

Here’s a quote:

“In many ways, the very same aspects of the Internet that benefit the largest global marketers can also offer benefits to the smallest outfits,” said Dan Hess, vice president of ComScore Networks Inc., an Internet research firm. “It offers an unmatched, unparalleled ability to reach niche groups of consumers. There is no other medium that can do that.”