A knowledge market is a type of market in which the demand for information is met with a steady supply of data. This type of market utilizes a number of different means to collect the information and distribute that data to interested parties. The general concept of a knowledge market has been around for a number of years, although the term is generally applied to online methods of collect and distribute data efficiently.
There are a couple of different approaches to how information in a knowledge market is regarded. One view tends to think of the collection and sharing of knowledge as a public service that should be readily available to all consumers seeking information. A different approach is to treat the collective intelligence found in the knowledge market as a commodity that is made available for a price. Both models have been successfully used in both online and offline settings over the years, and may often co-exist without any apparent issues with consumers.
An example of an online knowledge market is a web site that encourages readers to post questions while also encouraging other readers to provide responses. The range of knowledge that is made available varies from scholarly responses that are solidly backed with facts and figures, to anecdotal responses that are based almost entirely on the personal experience of the respondent. Some of these sites actively encourage an open forum approach to the sharing of knowledge, making them popular places to search for everything from how to bake the best apple pie to seeking assistance with complicated social questions.
In some cases, a knowledge market may be limited to access by members of the site only. In this scenario, some sort of membership fee may be required. Typically, this type of marketplace is not made readily available to the general public, and provides a benefit only to those who choose to retain membership and participate regularly at the site.
Formal education opportunities are also sometimes included in the broader understanding of a knowledge market. In terms of information shared in an online environment, this would include distance learning programs that allow students to register and attend classes in a virtual environment. Here, the market is entered by becoming a student, paying the required tuition and fees for registration. In return, the student receives the benefit of exposure to information by instructors and others in the classroom setting, and also the opportunity to accrue educational credits toward a degree.