Thursday, February 08, 2007

The End of The Web Revolution

The last two years have been great: blogging came into its own; web 2.0 got currency as a catchphrase for enhanced 2-way conversation. We spent these two years reading all those blogs teeming with opinion & analysis, Paris Hilton’s coverage, amidst an ocean of rewriting that most of blogosphere may be.

Nevertheless, those were exciting times.
Times when Blog Networks rose trying to challenge the might of mainstream media.

For some 3 seconds of fame, I am very much inclined to proclaim this idea that the web revolution is dead, but I know readers will quickly pick on my pompous inclinations in trying to join the rarified ranks where Nicholas Carr (End of IT) and Francis Fukuyama (End of History).

2006 saw the same boom in startups that we saw back in the rarified 90s.
Blogs like Techcrunch rose to become new media powerhouses covering the latest widget and tool developer.

Now, I guess we are back to the post-boom period - a time to take stock, to consolidate.
Companies with a long turn view will be making applications more productive.

We have supposedly arrived at a phase, which Gartner's famous hype report describes as a trough of disillusionment. When widgets become the epitome of ‘cool’, bad times are not far off.

So, where do we stand now?

Social Networking: Despite all that spam, who is challenging Myspace? I hear it may be the ninth biggest economy in the world. Which is the next Facebook?

Search: Google, Google, Google. TINA rules – there is no alternative. Google will spend rest of the year consolidating and trying to make inroads into China, finally putting a proper local management team. Expect less 20% time usage and more 80% fine-tuning. The future of search, experts say, is in Local+Mobile+Classifieds. Who is doing anything about that?

Blog Networks: Will they be standalone properties 2 years down the line? Alternatively, will mainstream brands buy them ou? AOL already has bought Weblogsinc and is shutting down some blogs.

Blogging/Videoblogging: Where is the next Perezhilton? The next Amanda Congdon, except from the in-vogue ZeFrank? By the way, did you know that according to a study by PQmedia, blog advertising accounted for $16.6 million in 2005 and would climb to $120 million only in 2010? Hmm…I wonder what those millions and millions of blogs (as per Technorati) are doing and isn’t bog riches a huge linkbait effort by those in the SEO industry?

Social News: Despite charges of cabals and gaming, Digg appears to be caught in its own inexorable cycle – it can never free itself from those top users. I feel pity for those thousands of undigged blips I see on Digg on a daily basis, surrounded by 4-6 bigger blips. Such a wastage of writing talent makes you feel sad.

Local Sites: Upheavals at Backfence was a tipping point. What happened to Calacanis’s much-hyped local blogs? Apart from a few working examples, local sites have still to show any promise.

Newspapers: Everyone is after the same the same 14-35, mostly YTM demographic – lots of sports, celebrity, sex, gadget and chit chat focus (including Digg), forgetting that there is a market for serious analysis, as shown by the success of Economist and Wall Street Journal.

Yahoo: Despite focusing on making its paid search work properly, it instead focuses on creating feed mashups. Leave that to the small fry. Decide whether you want to be a traditional media brand or an aggregator like Google.

Apple & Microsoft: While the previous came up with a vaporware whose potential is still uncalculated, the desktop giant comes up with a new PC OS, backed by an ad campaign whose slogan is ‘WOW’. Wow indeed, how did it come to this? Steve Jobs’ call for doing away with DRM is nothing heroic; it just makes business sense for Apple, that is all.

Untouched Web 2.0 verticals: Mike Arrington did stories on web 2.0 verticals he would like Entrepreneurs to address. Wonder what happened to that. More here.

I used to collect useful stories and links from Techmeme, Digg,
Of late, the number of interesting things to read about technology applications is decreasing, which disheartens me.

Earlier, I wrote for tempering our expectations from Web 2.0, but at least those were interesting times.

End of the web revolution, then?

Nah. I was just hyperventilating. I was getting bored.
There was nothing new to write this whole week.

There are many more IPs to connect and many IDs to interconnect before the Matrix takes over.
Long live the revolution.


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