Monday, August 13, 2007

Where is the next Big Internet Thing?

After blogging, user-generated content, Citizen Journalism, Youtube,, Digg, I am tempted to believe, nothing new, exciting and useful has come on to the scene. This is a phase of consolidation and rejiggling of business models.

There are far too me-too offerings.

Twitter and its ‘seemingly hipper’ competitor Pownce are time wasting lite variations of what Gmail can easily offer.

Facebook has been around for a lot of internet years now. The A-listers got to it after everyone else. The Facebook Platform is a faux –AOL application drive. T is nothing in Facebook that you can’t do on the open internet mashing Gmail, Google Reader, Blogger, Fliclkr and other freely available tools.

The smartest Web 2.0 user of recent times is Republican Presidential hopeful Ron Paul, whose Web site is in reality a mashup of social networking, bookmarking, Youtube, Social news (Digg and Reddit) and other free tools. He is so smart he doesn’t have comments on his site and drives people to gather and hawk him on Digg.

Blog Networks were supposed to be the Newspaper conglomerates of tomorrow but barring some exceptions, some are content to glorified content rewriters and others (e.g. Glam) are using conniving (or stupid) investment bankers to raise more Venture Capital using dubious traffic calculation methodologies.

The really smarter blog networks are very few and focus on solid, old fashioned reporting and writing – Gawker, Gigaom, Paidcontent.

While Backfence failed to bring Citizen Journalism to every town USA, others like Frontporch Forum, iBrattleboro,, New Assignment and Assignement Zero (which is now over) took CitiJ to new levels.The Knight 21st Century News Challenge promises to support better news innovations and we will be better for them.

Copying the Digg model was, and still is, a noble cause and I am sorry to learn that the creators of Pligg, a Digg clone software, has put up its domain, Sourceforge account and community up for sale - the minimum bid being only $25,000.

Challenging Wikipedia and Google is always hip. Squidoo, Hubpages, Mahalo, Swickis, Techmeme and its controlled news index have to prove they can run with the giants for a long, long time and ultimately prove themselves.

Here’s to the reworking of existing models and to the next big internet thing.

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