Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Web 2.0 a load of poo

Ok, I’ve finally given in. I’m blogging. Well, when I used to know what I was talking about it, we would have called it an online column, but hey, this is “Web 2.0” and everything needs to be re-named, re-spun, re-constituted and re-gurgitated, because it all got screwed up the first time round, but this time it’s different. No, really… 

Here’s the deal. Recently I’ve been blogged about (hi Mark, Paul, Frank, etc). I’m down with that. I like to be the centre of attention as much as any other intrinsically insecure, wanna-be twenty or thirty-something earnestly trying to prove that we’re big people now and that we really, really do know what we’re on about. In fact, I like the limelight so much, I really hate to think that people are listening to other people more than they’re listening to me. So I’m getting in on the gig. 

I’ve been writing about tech and/or media for more than 12 years, I’ve been running a web-based media business for five and those combined experiences mean I no longer have a lot of tolerance for: 

a)     Bullshit marketing
b)     Bullshit businesses 
c)     Bullshit in pretty much any shape or form   

Speaking of bullshit, let’s start with this whole Web 2.0 thingo. What a completely ridiculous, farcical and completely worthless notion. 

Now I may have this all wrong, but isn’t the web supposed to make that entire versioning paradigm redundant. You used to tag a version number to something back in the days when you had to package up all your code changes and actually distribute it. Aren’t we now supposed to be in the “on-demand” age? If you’ve got a new feature or bug fix to deploy, it’s just a matter of pressing the ‘Go Live’ key (what you’re computer doesn’t have a ‘Go Live’ key?) and voila, it’s done. 

Versioning should be an anathema to today’s web builders, so why the hell are people trying to wrap up all that is cool and grooving about the latest, iteration of web services in a package that smells of the week-old fish we only just remembered to throw away. 

Some people may not have noticed, but since all those dot com losers screwed the industry up back in the late nineties, there have actually been companies who have been building real, sustainable online businesses based on something called revenue. Concepts like social networking, user-generated content, etc have been around in some form or other for yonks. Remember when AJAX used to be called Active X? 

Ever since the day that the Internet came to be, it has progressed in baby steps on at least a daily basis. It certainly hasn’t come packaged up in big-bang upgrade versions. Surely that’s the inherent beauty of it all! 

In fact, the only really big change I can see is that venture capitalists are back in the game, so we’re seeing a whole new generation of dot com frauds building businesses based on no revenue models whose only real way forward is to be acquired. Dudes, that’s what brought the whole thing crashing down in the first place! 

Come to think of it, maybe I’ve got it wrong. Maybe Web 2.0 is an appropriate tag after all. After all, versioning is really just a marketing strategy that enables software companies to leach more money out of your poor, beleaguered customer bases. So hell yeah, let’s wrap the web up as a shiny new version and see if we can flog it to those suckers all over again. The only real losers in the end are those big, old superannuation funds. 

Because the way it’s all headed, it’s going to be dot com crash all over again. Big Bubble The Sequel. Web 2.0, yeah! 

So by all means, go ahead, fly the Web 2.0 flag. But for me, it’s purely a hyperbolic, marketing-driven catchphrase that generally represents a cheap, greasy clasp for shallow, built-to-flip start-ups with no business-model and no clue to grip onto. And sure if you manage to get Yahoo to bite and give you millions, then all power to you, but you’ll excuse me if I bitch and moan along the way and randomly point out the folly of businesses that don’t provide anything that anyone is willing to pay for. 

Bullshit deserves to be squashed. It’s a smelly job, but somebody’s got to do it. Welcome to my blog.


Filed under: Web 2.0

17 Responses

  1. Welcome to the flogosphere, Phil. Remember you don’t have a subeditor to fix up your peccadilloes on a blog, like confusing you’re with your. 😛

    I have faith that you will see the light eventually Phil. Before too long you’ll be blogging non-stop about tags/OPML/attention/Flickr/GEMAYA/Memeorandum and you’ll redesign ITJ to Frutiger/Georgia, rounded corners and pastel colours.

  2. Phil Sim says:

    I always figured my “peccadilloes” were part of the charm of my writing…

    And I wholly intend to blog furiously about all of your little Web 2.0 buzzwords/concepts/startups. I just won’t be doing it over a glass of red cordial/kool-aid.

  3. Mark Jones says:

    Welcome to the free world outside the firewall Phil. We’ve been waiting… 🙂

  4. Phil Sim says:

    Gee, it looks different out here, Mark. Nobody’s making any money.

  5. To date I give this blog a self-referential ego rating of 7.5/10. A bit shy of one or two others out there, but a solid start.

  6. Phil Sim says:

    Dang, Ferguson I was shooting for at least a nine. I will try harder.

  7. Short version: I’m with Phil.

    Long version: I love the fact Bill Gates says advertising is an important part of Web 2.0 and MS Live!
    Wasn’t lack of advertising the reason so many Web 1.0 businesses failed?
    It all makes me think that Web 2.0’s whole business plan assumes that Google will magically monetise anyone clever enough to use AJAX to make a site suck less than a Web 1.0 site, because sites that suck less will draw traffic.
    Hotmail, for example, is a Web 1.0 pain to use and needs MSN and all those pesky sales reps in nasty suits to make it work.
    GMail is a Web 2.0 delight and all the ad sales are automatic.
    Ergo anyone clever enough to do something as nice as GMail will be able to use AdSense to make a profit! Or actually charge subscriptions.
    Of course the number of people that make decent livings from AdSense is … well no-one knows.
    And what do people actually want to do online using Web 2.0? Nobody knows.
    This is why insolvency specialists never go hungry.

  8. Christopher Coulter says:

    Wow. What a breath of fresh air. Don’t let them drag you down, keep up the dukes. They will kill you with kindness and eventually if that doesn’t work, slander and name-calling. Let not the blog quicksand sink you.

  9. Ben Barren says:

    You are 100% right. Two Poo Oh.

  10. i agree and disagree. the web2.0 is not a marketing ploy by companies, it’s simply a different way to interact with the web. web developers aren’t versioning the internet to web2.0, they are using it as a marketing flag and a way to categorize their company.

    we web developers are simply using the market to introduce new technologies. we did not create the market or the wrapper that goes around it. web2.0 is not a bubble, it is a way for users to have a two way interaction with the web whereas web1.0 was one-way.

    media is creating the market by claiming web2.0 to be a revolutionary phase of the internet. and vc’s are pushing it so much they are creating a bubble. we’re just developers making cool web apps. the market has the problem.

  11. Asher Moses says:

    I’m in agreeance with Andy here. It’s quite ironic to see an IT journo grumbling about Web 2.0 when the moniker is largely a media-created concept anyway! 🙂

    And if anyone has the power to break through to the lizard community and reduce the hype, surely it’s got to be you/ITJ, Phil! So maybe the firewalled ITJ site is a better, albeit more exclusive avenue for getting the message across than a blog? Go straight to the source, I say.

  12. Steven Noble says:

    Great guns. Here’s one blog that’ll keep me coming back.

    I’m lovin’ the argument, but it’s worth remembering that most users of the latest generation of websites don’t give a rats whether we call it Web 2.0, the two-way web, or anything else. They care whether their friends are part of their online social network, whether access is fast and easy, etc.

    Likewise, most VCs will care about barriers to entry, global potential and payback period.

    Recruits, writers, anyone else — the name just won’t be their game.

    Call it Web 2.0, call it what you like — but don’t expect that to be the key that changes the way anyone relates to your business.

  13. […] So the top story on memeorandum right now is ZDNet’s criticism of the Web 2.0 catchphrase. Did I tell you people Web 2.0 was poo, last week, or what? […]

  14. Hey ! great blog !

    Just look at my :
    Promotion tools, marketing softwares …


  15. What do you say to a woman with 2 black eyes?
    You don’t, you’ve told her twice already!

  16. Sikosis says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Web 2.0 is a flog.

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