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Web 2.0 Is Dead. Long Live Web 2.0!

Web 2.0 was offered four years ago as the sacred Kool-Aid to heavens for the software industry and start-ups

In my October 2, 2008 blog entry, I shared the unfortunate news of Web 2.0's demise. This news is now hitting Silicon Valley and Silicon alleys around the world.

Soon all Web 2.0 events will either be "cancelled," or their organizers will make a last-minute attempt to pull together a last show, but throw in the towel after that, IMHO.

If they buck all business logic, and go ahead with their final scheduled Web 2.0 events, they'll lose millions of dollars and find out after their last show that Web 2.0 was DOA (as a software business model) anyway. Industry participation is a key indicator to determine the viability of technology trends. And what is better an indicator than the success or failure of an industry event on a particular subject matter.

This week a WSJ blog entry (advertorial) written by Jeremy Liew entitled, "Will the Recession Kill Web 2.0?", discusses this same thing. He approaches the subject from the business point-of-view (well, there's really no other point-of-view). He thinks some Web 2.0 companies may exit the recession stronger at the expense of the many others that won't make it through. The outcome will be based on the revenue and profitability that reflect their readership demographics, like niche sites that won't be as severely affected by the advertising slump and may flourish despite the economic downturn.

As far as "Web 2.0 as a software business model" goes, I repeat my initial view of October, 2008. Web 2.0 isn't a software business model and has never been. Yes, there was an attempt to make Web 2.0 a software business model, but it crashed and burned at the beginning of 2008, four years after the Web 2.0 Kool-Aid was first passed around the software industry as a solution, a path to heavenly riches. Now the believers in the non-existent "Web 2.0 software business model" find themselves in a situation much like much of Wall Street but without any bail-out parachutes.

I'm not saying that the "Panic of 2008" killed Web 2.0. I'm saying that Web 2.0 was never a way to create revenues. And many software companies and start-ups have ended up in the Web 2.0 dead end.

I'm also not saying that many businesses that we call Web 2.0 sites (for lack of a better term) will disappear because of the recession. What I mean is that none of them needed the services of the hundreds of software companies that positioned themselves as Web 2.0 solution providers. There hasn't been a single example of it since the day the first "Web 2.0 software business model" Kool-Aid was consumed.

Who are these Web 2.0 software companies and solutions providers?

You name them.

Any software company that had the words "Web 2.0" in their "About" page is either out of business, or saw the freight train coming and packed it up and moved off the tracks before they got hit.

Companies that redirected and refocused their research, development, services, and solutions on to more viable technologies by getting off the Web 2.0 bus will at least survive the recession. Some software companies, among best in their competitive landscape, that are providing high-impact cost-saving solutions, and directly fighting the recession will grow, profit, and prosper.

As for the question: "Will the Recession Kill Web 2.0?" - I repeat Web 2.0 as a sustainable software business model never existed and never had a chance, recession or no recession.

Think about it for a moment. Which Web 2.0 software solution provider is behind the success of MySpace, Facebook, or YouTube?


If the start-ups and giants who call themselves Web 2.0 software companies had a clue about what Web 2.0 meant, they would have created MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube.

There are dozens of future Web 2.0 success stories (for lack of a better word) -that are today at their inception, or at the toddler or teenage stage, and they'll be the Web 2.0 giants of tomorrow (recession or no recession), but none of them will be created by one of the so-called Web 2.0 solution providers you used to see on Web 2.0 conference expo floors.

Many of them don't exist anymore, and the few that are left are on life support.

With this gloomy outlook for Web 2.0 (as a software business model), a happy and healthy holiday season to all.

More Stories By Fuat Kircaali

Fuat Kircaali is the founder and chairman of SYS-CON Media, Cloud Expo, Inc. and Ulitzer, Inc.

Kircaali came to the United States from Zurich University, Switzerland in 1984 while studying for his PhD, to design computer systems for SH-2G submarine hunter helicopters for the U.S. Navy. He later worked at IBM's IS&CG Headquarters as a market research analyst under Mike Armstrong's leadership, an IBM executive who later ran IBM Europe and AT&T; and Fuat was the Director of Information Systems for UWCC, reporting to CEO Steve Silk (later Hebrew National CEO), one of the top marketing geniuses of the past two decades.

Kircaali founded SYS-CON Media in 1994, a privately held tech media company with sales exceeding $100 million. SYS-CON Media was listed twice by Inc 500 and Deloitte and Touche as one of the fastest-growing companies in North America. Kircaali launched Ulitzer, Inc., a revolutionary "new media" start-up in mid 2009.

Fuat completed Bogazici University Business Administration program in 1982 with a Bachelor's Degree. He was one of 50 students accepted to the program out of over 1 million high school graduates that year.

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Most Recent Comments
rabcraig 04/23/09 07:06:00 AM EDT

I fairly agree that Web 2.0 is dying little by little, sites like Craiglist have to improve otherwise they will die and never get up

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