Formed from a combination of the words information and intermediary, an infomediary is a Web sitethat gathers and organizes large amounts of data and acts as an intermediary between those who want the information and those who supply the information.
There are two types of infomediaries. Some infomediaries, such as Autobytel.com and BizRate.com, offer consumers a place to gather information about specific products and companies before they make purchasing decisions. The infomediary is a neutral entity, a third-party provider of unbiased information; it does not promote or try to sell specific products in preference over other products. It does not act on behalf of any vendors. The second type of infomediary, and one that is not necessarily Web-based, is one that provides vendors with consumer information that will help the vendor develop and market products. The infomediary collects the personal information from the buyers and markets that data to businesses. The advantage of this approach is that consumer privacy is protected and some infomediaries even offer consumers a percentage of the brokerage deals.
The term infomediary was coined by John Hagel in his 1996 article entitled “The Coming Battle for Customer Information” in the Harvard Business Review.