Can Web 2.0 mean the end of search?
Enough about domains, squatters and lowlifes. I’m over them now
Mark Neely wrote a great article in the latest Digital Media magazine. He describes the shift of online user behaviour and how it could ultimately change the fortunes of some of the major online players, including search engines. While I didn’t agree with everything he wrote, he did raise some salient points for us to keep in the back of our minds.
The thrust of his argument is that web users (that’s you and me) are rapidly moving towards websites that allow us to show, and even produce content, like MySpace, YouTube, Blogger and Facebook. He calls this the “Come to me web”. The trend is away from the content owners, those who attempt to lure you with engaging content with an aim to monetise. That’s been known as the “I go get it web”.
Neely sees a time when social networking and peer recommendations will largely drive the majority of traffic to your website.
He also believes we’ll see increasing “audience fragmentation” and decreasing website traffic as users move away from the more traditional content providers, and want more and more to produce their own. The decrease in site traffic will be masked a little by the increase in new people using the internet each day.
I think he’s right in part, but I don’t think everyone wants to be a “performer”. You’ll always have an audience, those who prefer to be “entertained” rather than do the entertaining.
And people’s web surfing habits constantly change for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes Google really is the fastest way to get the information you need. I’m not going to go to MySpace to find out how to spell something.
“Content is king” will still reign supreme, it’s just that great web content will be in lots and lots of places online, just as it is now.
But if you really want to kick goals online, give people the tools to make their own content. YouTube has moved in this direction with the YouTube remixer. One of my favourites is www.picnik.com. It’s like Photoshop, but it’s online, and it’s free.
Over at Facebook, the gold rush is well and truly on. Developers are producing software to help Facebook members make and share their own content. Here are some rather scary “fast facts” about the Facebook economy from adonomics.com.
- There are 348,300,292 installs across 5160 applications on Facebook.
- These applications were used 25,756,702 times in the last 24 hours and have a combined valuation of $286,885,848.
- Facebook has approximately 40 million Unique Active Users in the past 30 days and a valuation between $US10 billion and $US15 billion. This translates to between $US250 and $US375 per active user.
To give you just one example, an internet music company called ILike created a cool Facebook application a few months ago that allows users post clips of their favourite songs. This app has been added to the pages of 8.6 million of Facebook’s users. When the app is run, ILike shows a little advertising on the side. ILike is currently valued at $US11.5 million dollars. That’s phenomenal growth in anyone’s language.
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Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine marketing company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.
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