Banned: Web 2.0

Around here, the Web is still the Web

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

June 29, 2006

2 Min Read
Banned: Web 2.0

3:15 PM -- I thought I would stop at quadruple play, but I've recently discovered that there are plenty of other words I need to ban from the pages of Light Reading.

This time around, I'm taking out Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and any other variation of what sane people used to call an Internet-based business, or a dotcom.

Marketing folks and venture capitalists are using Web 2.0 to refer to a "second generation" of services offered via the Internet. In short, they've found a way to describe their businesses based on a feature or two, rather than calling the business what it really is: a dotcom.

Here's a snippet of text I pulled from a press release last week that refers to Web 2.0 as if it's a real thing. Note the buzzwords required to prop up the concept:

Providing community, user-generated content, syndication and aggregation software, Pluck helps its customers leverage the new open content model that has emerged as the cornerstone of Web 2.0.

In plain English, Pluck Corp., the company that sent the press release, makes software. The software they make helps people and companies set up blogs, photo albums, and stuff like that. As a service, Pluck can probably host all the stuff you can create with its software. Was that so hard?

Well, yes, according to Pluck. Because they want you to think that some clever bits of code are really "social media solutions that transform how everyday people and publishers discover, create and distribute information online."

In other words, they've smelled their own asses so long they've completely forgotten how to tell people what it really is they do for a living.

Don't get me wrong, Internet-based companies aren't all bad. Thanks to the one I work for, as George W Bush would say, I've been able to put food on my family for many years.

But there's no magic to a business that's labeled as Web 2.0, anymore than there is in calling a new car "Auto 2.0." Cars still have four wheels, an engine, doors, etc. Internet companies, like all other companies, have some thing or service they're trying to sell so they can make money.

The fact that the business is based on, or heavily relies on, the Internet isn't that big a deal these days, so we're ditching Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in favor of plainer, saner, language.

As a social experiment, if you run into someone who insists on using Web 2.0 to describe stuff, look at their resumé and take note of where they worked in 1999 and 2000 -- arguably, the Web 1.0 years. Odds are they've got the shrapnel of a few dotcom bombs buried deep in their skulls somewhere.

— Phil Harvey, Words Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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