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The web's bent toward commonality may ultimately hinder consumer receptiveness to new brands.
In a 1754 letter, the writer and politician Horace Walpole coined the term 'serendipity' - a word he derived from an old Persian tale, The Three Princes of Serendip. In the story, the protagonists regularly benefited from unplanned discoveries, and these seemingly random occurrences enabled them to fulfil their mission.
Early in the development of the web, the internet's capacity to surprise and divert us was recognised when the phrase 'web surfing' was coined to describe following the path of links that led to surprising places.
Although web surfing rarely ended with the sort of benefits the three princes sought (wealth, kingdoms, marriage to …