Archive for September, 2007

Web 2.0 Overload

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Is it just me or is web 2.0 suffering from a stagnant lapse? Don’t get me wrong - I love the concept of web 2.0 and social media. That definitely isn’t the problem. The lack of innovation and inferior business models are what bother me most. Add to that the fact that ideas are being ripped off and clones are abundant. Honestly, do we need another social bookmarking site or a generic video portal?

This lack of creativity and thought around business models is quite discouraging. A business plan full of buzz words and a flashy PowerPoint just don’t cut it anymore. What users really want is value; they want a service they can use. This seems obvious, but I can’t believe how many ridiculous ideas continue to be funded.

What about revenue models? We all know that a majority of start-ups are dependent upon Google ads as their key income generator. Truly, this is not a sustainable model. Unless a given property is able to generate millions of page views a month, then such a model is impractical. Creating a paid service isn’t difficult. Creating a truly compelling service and convincing the customer that it’s worth the price is the hard part. If there is a stunning value proposition for the end user, they will pay. One thing to keep in mind is the general trend that (almost) all Internet services eventually progress to free.

Having said all that, I am optimistic that the tables will turn. Despite all the clutter in the web 2.0 space, we have witnessed the growth of some remarkable start-ups over the past year, most notably Twitter. I refuse to use the term ‘bubble’ in this context, but I do believe that changes are in the pipeline. Funding will become more scarce and investors will become more selective. Hopefully this will weed out the crap and pave the way for innovative new ideas. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

MyBlogLog Acquisition Aftermath

Friday, September 7th, 2007

MyBlogLog logoWhen MyBlogLog launched in late 2006, it caught fire. Many of the big tech blogs immediately jumped on board and started using the service. This fueled massive PR and popularity shot to unprecendented heights. Soon, all the big tech blogs were taking advantage of the service. Then, only a couple of months later, Yahoo buys the company for $10 million. Since then, very little has changed and not much has been said about the company.

This simple, yet ingenious idea sparked for one reason: it provided value for both the blogger and the reader. The blogger was provided with a tool that encouraged repeat visitor loyalty, while the reader gained awareness and exposure (via the displayed avatar) in return.

After the Yahoo acquisition, the success and appeal of the service seemed to die off. To some degree, it became overrun with spam. Some were adding as many contacts as possible to market their blog, while others advertised via their personalized avatar. This was predictable. As is the case with Digg, any social media property that vaults to fame and attracts a large user base becomes susceptible to cheating and gaming.

Nevertheless, I am itching to know when the company will make some sort of announcement or launch a new version. Furthermore, how Yahoo plans to integrate the service is even more of a mystery. I assume this will become more clear in the days ahead with the transition strategy now in full-tilt.

How do you think MyBlogLog should proceed? How should Yahoo integrate the service?

Is Facebook the New LinkedIn?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

LinkedIn logoThe advent of the Internet and the proliferation of cell phones essentially wiped out the need for a Rolodex. Business contact information could now be managed via some sort of electronic device. All of a sudden, connections and relationships seemed much more manageable without the need for a tangible organizational system. Microsoft Outlook served as a main hub for many. Plaxo was the next step. Then along came web 2.0…

LinkedIn was born and quickly became the business contact tool of choice for the tech-savvy. As opposed to many of the other social networks, LinkedIn focused on an older, more established business crowd. The ability to meet contacts through established connections was a main driver for the site. Subsequently, LinkedIn quickly became known as the place to network with business contacts online.

Nowadays, the leader is starting to see competition from an unexpected source. More and more business professionals are starting to use Facebook as their main means of networking and relationship-tracking.

This may seem odd to some, as LinkedIn is focused specifically on business professionals, thereas Facebook provides a more general offering. The reason I see many making the switch is this: Facebook simply has a much larger user base than LinkedIn. In other words, there is a higher likelihood that a given contact will be using Facebook. Keep in mind that Facebook is tailored for an older demographic as well, as opposed to say MySpace or hi5. Having said that, even though Facebook is a generic social utility, great value can still be derived from the depth of connections and the internal communication mechanisms. Personally, I also find LinkedIn a bit confusing at times. The more simplified Facebook experience may also be a factor.

The transition is still in its early stages. Many still live by LinkedIn and may be unlikely to switch due to their strong ties with the service already. Nevertheless, Facebook may provide an added networking tool, if not the networking tool, for business professionals in the future.

Do you think Facebook will thwart LinkedIn in the networking space? Or is the more tailored offering going to win out in the end?

Potential Twitter Acquisition?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Twitter logoWell… not quite. But I’m surprised that we haven’t heard more such rumours. Facebook seems to be hogging the attention as of late. Nevertheless, I expect Twitter rumours to surface fairly soon.

Though the service hasn’t reached the mainstream yet, I doubt it will take long before it does. Already, many social networks have integrated similar status update services. As we all know, the micro-blogging space is on fire right now. Phenomenal growth has been witnessed. Having said that, don’t expect it to die off any time soon. Micro-blogging isn’t a fad or a trend. It is a platform - and it is here to stay. Other well-known names in the space to watch include the likes of Pownce, Jaiku, and Tumblr.

So why is Twitter the big name? After all, the technology isn’t very hard to copy. It is actually quite simple when compared to numerous other apps out there. Twitter is the known name in the space. All the innovators and influencers use the service. Any potential acquisitor would (obviously) be more interested in the user base rather than the actual technology.

Speaking of potential acquisitors, some names that come to mind include:

  • Google (potential integration with Blogger)
  • Yahoo
  • Six Apart
  • Any social network - though most have implemented their own status function, the user base is the key incentive.

Do you think Twitter will get bought any time soon? If so, by who?