Appraising Web 2.0

Russell Beatie has an excellent post today about how very little of the Web 2.0 hype actually deals with creating a real, viable business around the offerings people are putting out. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times in the past. I just don’t see the dots connecting between some of the tools coming out and making money. Sure, you may get acquired, but that’s not a business plan.
What’s worse, I think a certain amount of Hubris has taken hold in the space – similar to the boom in the 90’s. Applications are launching with very little explanation. Just dramatic tag lines and the often predictable, over-simplified cartoon-ish Web 2.0 aesthetic. Very often, I don’t even know what I’m applying for. I happen to follow the industry, but most users would simply turn and walk away. You can’t break barriers and establish value by being this presumptuous. If it’s not clear within three minutes why my life is going to be better because of a product, it’s going to have a hard time.
But let’s go with the benefit of the doubt here and assume the pitch is good and the story is solid. Let’s assume adoption is rampant. You’re still not out of the woods. What you really need to see is strong adoption numbers against some sort of payment structure. Rapid adoption of free products is half the story. Shut’em off and ask for $10/mo. $5/mo. $3/mo. Let’s see what happens then.
Another point worth mentioning is that this is not a purely “small company” trend. Google has set the tone by unloading a litany of services for free. They can afford to do it today because ads along search results provide the money. The smaller players out there don’t have that machine behind them. Yet there’s still an “if Google can do it” mindset that is pervasive and I don’t think it’s healthy.
Amidst all the doom and gloom, I think there are real opportunities out there. Much of the philosophy and innovation that is coming out of Web 2.0 hasn’t even reached businesses and solving real enterprise problems. People just need to bring these great ideas across the bridge. The world doesn’t need any more tagging software or mapping software. Hell, none of the ones out today charge a dime anyway. Instead, we need to raise the bar and challenge ourselves to find real opportunities and create value – value that people will pay for.

1 Comment Appraising Web 2.0

  1. JesterXL

    Damn, you’re patient… 3 minutes? Takes me 10 seconds… then another 10 seconds a week later if more than 1 person blogs about how wonderful it is.
    Still, that’s 20 seconds over 2 weeks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *