Archive for the ‘trends’ Category

Web 3.0 is Web 1.0 (I Hope)

Friday, June 8th, 2007

I’m hoping web 3.0 goes back to the basics, although I’m not convinced that will be the case. Let me also backtrack and re-iterate that I hate buzzwords, so excuse my use of the terms web 3.0 and web 1.0. I am simply referring to the coming of the new-web. Wow, even that sounds wishy-washy…

Simply put, I am hoping that the next big step for the web is actually two steps backward. My aspiration is that we return to the original vision of Tim Berners-Lee of a semantic web, full of wonderful things such as directories and meaningful links. Sounds boring and lame, but it’s a lot more useful and relevant. The Internet, as we know it now, is riddled with interactivity, video, Flash, AJAX, and many other features. Now don’t get me wrong - these can all be useful, relevant, and sometimes entertaining, but in many cases they simply add clutter and confuse the user experience.

The world of search engine optimization (SEO), in essence, attempts to convert ambiguous, equivocal web pages to relevant, content-rich websites. By altering title tags, META tags, URL structure, headers, linking structure, and content, one is not only optimizing for search engines, but also creating a more usable, people-friendly site. Yes, this is what the web was meant to be.

I can’t say enough good things about sites that attempt to simplify the experience and provide a very focused, clean-cut offering. I’m referring to sites such as Craigslist, Wikipedia, and Their interfaces aren’t cluttered or crammed with images. Pages are legible and usability is tremendous. Add to that such things as clean URLs and a innate linking structure, and we are talking about a whole new type of experience - or an old one that we forgot about.

Domain Investing is Virtual Real Estate

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Individuals who partake in the buying and selling of domain names are called “domainers”. These individuals can also create revenues by generating traffic to the given properties, then maxizing the ad revenue per page view. By producing tailored landing pages and optimizing for search engines, the influx of traffic can be constant and ongoing, creating a flow of income.

The former tactic sounds very similar to the real world and real estate investing. Essentially, they are the same thing. In either case, the investor is purchasing some ‘property’ in hopes that it will increase in value. Subsequently, a sale will produce a capital gain. 

Many of these investors possess comprehensive portfolios of domain names, containing tens of thousands of names or more. The names range from high-end .com properties to smaller, more niche, long tail offerings. As mentioned above, these fortune-seekers can generate revenue not only via a sale, but also via traffic.

World famous domainers include:

  • Yun Ye - probably the most famous domainer; Vancouver man who sold this 100,000+ domain portfolio to Marchex for $164 million in 2004
  • Frank Schilling - his sites apparently generate 1% of all Yahoo ad revenues, or over $30 million a year
  • Rick Schwartz - multi-millionaire who turned $1,800 into over $20 million; has owned such domains as and

The domain investing world is a very interesting space that I would like to learn more about. It is a very underground, low profile industry due to its (sometimes) unethical and shifty nature. In any case, it is captivating and opens your mind to a whole new world of business on the Internet.

Note: I would highly recommend reading this article on domain investing. It is not only entertaining, but very educating.

Everyone’s Web 2.0 Revenue Model

Monday, May 28th, 2007

The buzz and hype of the new web landscape has subsided considerably. Yet, to my surprise, more and more ‘web 2.0′ start-ups continue to operate with the cheesiest, most over-used strategies.

  • “We’re currently in stealth mode.”
  • “Our AJAX widget will VOIP the RSS while podcasting to bloggers in a wiki-like fashion.”
  • Our target market is anyone who uses the Internet.”

These crack me up. Like… give us all a break. My favourite though… is one that is not as apparent, or even stated anywhere. It pertains to the revenue models of these ventures. Contrary to what many may think (especially the companies themselves), a revenue model was never part of the initial strategy.

To some, this may come as surprising. To others, it’s common knowledge. Many of these start-ups launch a FREE product with the intention of exploding onto the market, harnessing viral growth, and eventually selling to a larger, more established player. WOW, there is it. The revenue model is actually an exit strategy. I think that is a web 2.0 trend in itself.

Web 2.0 revenue model = Exit strategy

This makes sense for naive Internet entrepreneurs because:

  • It eliminates that monetary barrier to entry for users (as mentioned above)
  • They have no idea how to monetize a product in the first place AND/OR they find comfort in the the phrase, “We’ll build traffic, then figure out how to monetize later”.
  • The company realizes that if they do eventually implement a revenue model (advertising, subscription, etc…), they will piss off users and many will defect from the site or service.

So, as you can see, companies resort to the FREE model with the intention of ’slapping on’ a revenue model somewhere down the road. There never was a revenue model to begin with.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I love free products and don’t want to pay for anything if I don’t have to. But from a business perspective, that is not a sustainable or savvy model.

Can Social Bookmarking Sites Provide Better Results Than the Search Engines?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Let’s head back to the SEO days of the late 90’s. META tags were all the rage, most notably META keywords. Now back to 2007… The use of such ‘indicators’ is coming full-swing. Although the ‘META keywords’ phrase is now shunned upon, tagging tends to be a concept that many accept with open arms. At the core, they are essentially the same thing. A user or publisher is providing a word or phrase (i.e. metadata or context) to a given page in this case. However, the amount people that provide this data is the difference.

Some are saying that this type system may provide more accurate and relevant results than other search algorithms, most notably Google’s.

Social bookmarking sites essentially allow a large audience to tag individual pages all over the web. It is similar to providing META keywords, but on a much larger scale. I call it ‘tagging by the masses’. Hopefully the wisdom of the crowds is more pertinent than a computer-based algorithm.

One downfall of such a system is the possibility of gaming or cheating. Mismatched tags and spam can ultimately lead to personal financial gain (for some), as well as inferior results for the user. Though this is easier to accomplish using a tag-based system, gaming is still widespread within traditional, algorithm-based search engines as well. Search engine optimized, AdWords-smothered pages still continue to appear in the results, although an effort has been made to eliminate them.

Perhaps one of the traditional, ‘lagging’ search engine should look at incorporating tag-based results in their own algorithm or results. A risk such as this could provide a spark or catalyst that Ask or MSN so desperately needs.

Has RSS Gone Mainstream?

Monday, May 21st, 2007

RSS IconNot even close. The technology is status quo among bloggers and the blogosphere alike. It is even used by the majority on online news agencies and portals. But it has yet to reach widespread adoption among the general public.

This question came about when I pondered whether RSS was now common knowledge or whether it still lived in the web 2.0 echo chamber as we know it…

So I tried my ‘web 2.0 test’ on a couple of friends. I asked if they knew what RSS was and what RSS stood for. In all case, the first answer was ‘no’ and the second was ‘no idea’. This proved to me that RSS has not broken into the mainstream and has a long way to go.

So why is taking so long to reach a critical mass?

My guess is not because the technology is overly sophisticated or complicated to use. It is more of a question of perception. The ‘perceived’ complexity of RSS is what intimidates people and dissuades them from using the technology. The concept of ‘pulling a content feed’ is not difficult to grasp. The terminology and context placed around the system is what deters most people.

If an attempt can be made to humanize the technology and make it more user-friendly, my guess is that the adoption rate will skyrocket as people begin to realize the true benefits and advantages. The day my parents can understand the notion of ‘pulling a feed’ or even ‘feed reader’ will be the day I know RSS has made it.