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A consumer-to-business model, or C2B, is a type of commerce where a consumer or end user provides a product or service to an organization. It is a reverse of the B2C model, where businesses produce products and services for consumer consumption. The idea is that the individual/end user provides a product or service that the business can use to complete a business process or gain competitive advantage.
An example of this would be if a consumer provides a business with a fee-based opportunity to market their products on the consumer's blog. A C2B business model would be formed if a food company began paying a food blogger to market their products, for example. A website owner could be paid to review products or services, whether through blog posts, videos or podcasts. This could also include paid advertisement space on the consumer website. Google Adwords/Adsense has enabled this kind of relationship by simplifying the process in which bloggers can be paid for ads. Another possible form of C2B is when a consumer specifies a need and various businesses bid to fulfill that need, such as referral hiring sites.
For the C2B relationship to be fulfilled, the players must be clearly defined. The consumer could be any individual who has something to offer a business, either a service or a good. Examples could be a blogger, as mentioned before, or a photographer offering stock images to businesses. This could also be someone answering a poll through a survey site, or offering job hiring service by referring someone through referral hiring sites.
The business could be any company planning to buy goods or services from individuals through intermediaries. This could be a company looking to fill a job through a referral hiring site, a company needing to advertise online through Google Adwords, or a company that needs individuals to take surveys and provide market research.
The intermediary is the conduit for the C2B business. It connects the business which needs a service or a good and a mass of individuals, acting as a portal both for buyers and sellers. The intermediary promotes goods and services from individuals through distribution channels, giving individuals promotion, logistics, and technical expertise. The intermediary connects these individuals to businesses, providing buyers a contact to a mass of individuals and often taking care of money transactions and legal aspects.
C2B models have increased in popularity thanks to the Internet. Previously, traditional media outlets provided a one-direction relationship from businesses to consumers. But the connection of a large group of people to a bidirectional network has enabled individuals to become their own businesses and create their own blogs or websites. Technology has also become cheaper, enabling individuals to have access to the tech that only large companies previously held. This includes high performance computing, high-end software, and digital printing technology.
As C2Bs are relatively new, there are underlying issues that have yet to be defined by laws. For example, individuals need to bill and receive money legally, which is not easy when individuals don't own companies. There aren't many straightforward ways for companies to pay individuals who don't work for the company. A traditional firm would pay wages to the employees, a limited group, whereas C2B businesses would have to process a large group of individuals and take on the financial responsibilities for the transactions.
This is where intermediaries come in. Companies like PayPal ease the burden of payment, and Goodl Adsense pays webmasters by sending them checks in dollars, incurring shipping fees for Google and currency conversion fees for international users. Wire transfers are also useful, though many companies have stopped using wire services.
Some examples of C2Bs include online advertising sites like Google Adsense/Adwords and affiliation programs like Amazon. With online advertising sites, individuals can display advertising banners or other promotional items on their blogs or websites. When it comes to affiliation programs, individuals are directly commissioned to advertise their products to companies. Online surveys are also C2Bs, as businesses pay individuals to reply to their surveys. Examples of these are GozingSurveys and SurveyMonkey.