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Web 2.0 Backlash

Phil Harvey
5/27/2008

12:05 PM -- The Financial Times this week explained that many Web 2.0 companies "have so far produced little in the way of revenue, despite bringing about some significant changes in online behaviour... "

This is hardly surprising. I'm no Web 2.0 genius, but I have used a dozen social networks and a dozen more applications and widgets over the past couple of years.

How many times was I compelled to pull out my wallet during that time? Not once. I don't even think I was ever asked. Not only was I not asked, I don't think I learned of any new product I wanted to use while on these networks. I don't think these widgets helped me find any people that I didn't already know about.

So my social networking/Web 2.0 experiences have been fun, but they didn't really rock my world. And if that's all someone can say about your business, you're probably toast.

Seriously, Ning.com sounds interesting, but isn't it really just Homestead with better marketing? Isn't it really just Tripod for Dummies?

What kind of profit do investors think a business like that is really capable of producing? What am I missing here?

Think of it this way: All startups are small businesses, and most small businesses fail. Those that don't fail have several things going for them, and providing yet another clever way to find ex-girlfriends or silly headlines doesn't seem like it's really going to make a difference.

If Digg is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, shouldn't that guy from Fark be a billionaire by now?

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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