While I touched on this briefly in my Web Buzz Words of 2006 post, I am constantly bombarded by web 2.0 related stories/posts/spin-offs through our beloved digg.com.
Web 2.0 – a set of development guidelines that hands the web sites content and function into the hands of it’s users, is the topic of everyone’s conversation as of late (including me, I admit). While the guildelines are no doubt great practices, and work for many community related sites – it is simply not the revolution of the web industry that many claim. While there have been a few cases where this model has proven to be successful (digg, flickr, etc) there are many web pages out there that simply can’t follow the web 2.0 model. Further, some of the most successful user-centered sites are not Web 2.0 at all. (For example myspace, facebook, ebay, etc…)
What once was a simple reference to a design model, is now just buzz-word fluff that people associate with unrelated technologies such as AJAX, and design styles such as vibrant colors, reflections, and rounded corners.
Since Web 2.0 only really applies to online only based companies (since you can’t really make a brochure site Web 2.0, and the demand of sites that promote a companies offline services is not something that is going to dwindle anytime soon.) does that mean that Web 2.0 is just the dot-com boom all over again? I say it isn’t.
Web 2.0 is simply the dot-com area continued. There were several dot-com companies that survived, and have been successful regardless of the downfall of so many others. Web 2.0 will repeat that same boom, bust, survival.
The fact of the matter is that the community/user centered model of Web 2.0 in itself is not going to generate traffic, it will not generate ad revenue, and it will not generate profits. All of these will be determined by the quality of the site, just like it always has been. The prime example is of course Myspace, a site that is not considered Web 2.0, that sold for 504 million dollars. Myspace is a viral masterpiece that didn’t follow any guidelines, nor did it use vibrant colors (or have any sort apealing design for that matter.)
At best “Web 2.0” will end up becoming a promotional feature to a greater web strategy. Much like “green” marketing on many non-web related products/services (green states that products/services are environmentally conscious.) People will feel comforted by the fact that they have the rights to the content/data that they contribute to a site. It won’t make them look or click on advertisements though, and it won’t make them buy the “pro” account…