What's In A Name, M-Commerce Style

Industry shorthand is intended to be an efficient way to communicate frequently used phrases. Sometimes, however, retail tech drops its guard and ends up with multiple identical terms to refer to very different things. Some 15 years ago, "Web server" was the classic example, referring to both software and tower hardware. It was often impossible to tell which was being referenced, even in context. Today, M-Commerce is giving us a 2011 example.

If I reference Best Buy Mobile revenue, am I referring to the chain selling phones or what people buy using their phones looking at Best Buy's site on those phones? The same can be said of just about every major chain that happens to sell phones, but Best Buy is an especially severe offender. It actually dubbed one of its divisions BestBuy Mobile—and it's the chain's M-Commerce group. Here's a Merriam-Webster brain-tease: What do you call revenue that Best Buy earns from people accessing the chain's M-Commerce site on their iPhone and then using that connection to purchase an Android phone? (Was going to ask for the name if those same people engaged in this M-Commerce Android effort while riding the LAN at a local Mobil gas station, but thought better of it.)

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