Nothing happens until somebody sells something; that's the old adage anyway. But consumers today are not only different, they are changing. The Web has democratized the marketplace, unlocking access to information and enabling consumers to make more-informed decisions and better choices.

In many cases, the Web effectively has ended the existence of asymmetrical information. Remember what happened to travel agents, for example? Agents and producers may be able to put together the best quote and product offering for a consumer. But it's also possible, and increasingly likely, the buyers already may have the same technology, access to information and the opportunity to find a better deal for themselves faster.

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