Monday, 28 April 2008

The Web 2.0 Gold Rush

Posted by: Ian Angell

Everywhere I see major corporations frantically joining the rush to profit from Web 2.0. {What an awful term – it implies a new version, an upgrade, when nothing could be further from the truth}.

The mere mention social networks gets companies foaming at the mouth. Mickey Mouse start-ups are attracting investment from financial investors who really should know better. Yes there are a few good ideas out there, but Web 2.0 is not going to be populated by thousands of Facebooks. Many, nay most of these new applications are just plain daft. The Internet bubble rides again!

We’ve seen it with Second Life (SL), the 3-D virtual social interaction space. Businesses are buying virtual islands in SL to create ‘interactive branded experiences.’ A veritable business paradise? Not so! Of the tens of millions of registered users, only a few tens of thousands are active. SL is an untraceable source of spam. Malicious software can steal virtual property, corrupt data, falsify marketing information, vicious rumours circulate, and there is the possibility of money laundering. Never forget for every social network there is an antisocial one.

Web 2.0 is awash in litigation over design theft, and the infringement of intellectual property rights – the Scrabble spat with Facebook is a case in point.

And yet the mere mention of blogs, mashups, podcasts, web feeds, widgets, or wikis get businesses hyperventilating. Something wonderful will happen, and they want their share!

Yes there are fortunes to be made, but extreme caution is needed, and sensible choices made. Just diving into social networks is folly, because they are fundamentally anarchic and uncontrollable. 

In the frenzied rush for gold, the miners are blind to where the real money is being made. A lesson should be learned from the original gold rushes. In the first wave it was picks, shovels, pans and mules – supplying equipment and transport – that made the money. Very few of the miners ever struck it rich. This was followed by the WWW of the second wave: selling Whisky, Weapons and Whores, where the real fortunes were made.


mindfossil said...

Rightly said, I think it's becoming even a bigger bubble than dotcom boom.

Here is the evidence, the list of top 50 web 2.0 sites released by CNN in 2006. Only 4-5 have survived and that eihter some have got more funding( more oxygen for time-being to survive) or others like flickr and youtube have been engulped by biggies like Yahoo and Google.


Tim Hannigan said...

I was thinking of setting up a social network around dutch tulip bulbs.. you think it will work? :)

Tim Hannigan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Hannigan said...

Here's a video reenacting with actors what happens on Facebook

Govind said...

Hi Ian, Ash

This might be an interesting read..
France is at risk of killing ZeWebDeux"