VRM is vendor relationship management. CRM is customer relationship management. DRM is digital rights management. Doc Searls writes:
We need social systems that are supported technically. For example, it might be easy to steal produce from a grocery store or to tale money from tip jar at a coffee shop; but most customers don’t do that. Why? Yes, it’s illegal, but so is “stealing” music by copying it without authorization. The other reason people don’t steal in physical places is that the market itself has clear structures some physical, some social that are supported by technology. When we’re in a grocery store or a coffee shop, we are playing a role as a customer that comprises a kind of relationship with the vendor. The physical and technical structure of a store shapes what we do there and how we do it, together. We are still lacking that structure in cyberspace in the market’s commons as well as in stores.
We need to create technologies that support practices, which in turn support social conventions, which in turn support markets that grow around everybody’s participation. VRM is a means toward all those ends. By starting with the customer, it doesn’t turn the old power pyramids upside down, or bottom-up. It turns the role of the customer inside out. It gives customers power to engage. Power to provide values other than cash.