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Bubble 2.0 ? 9 November, 2006

Posted by Adam in Business, Web marketing.
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A recent post on a forum I contribute to posed the question of whether we are seeing another Internet bubble a la the late 1990s.

It’s true that a relatively low barrier to entry has seen a glut of web-based applications emerging and only a small percentage will survive the long-haul (due to a flawed business plan). But personally I don’t think this equates to a bubble in the ’90s sense. There have been some big buy-ups of late – but when people like News Corp (Rupert Murdoch), Microsoft, and Google get involved – you can bet your sweet mitzie that these purchases weren’t taken lightly. Bubble 1.0 was all about hype – there were some good ideas but the infrastructure wasn’t in place for most of them to be realised. Now though, with over 70% of the UK having taken up broadband and a massive shift in how we digest media and interact online, things have permanently changed at the cultural level and this is what the big guys are buying in to – social sites with lots of membership potential.

if anything the real casualty is old media which is gradually imploding on itself as it’s once completely valid business model based on eyeballs and adverts gets diluted amongst an exploding cosmos of new media channels. This is one of the main drivers behind the recent upsurge in website purchases of course – and I can only see that lasting for a while yet as one by one the tottering giants of yesteryear seek to bail out in a buy-up frenzy.

Like all things it will settle down, and in the meantime the smart money is into the longtail – apparently !?!

Adam.

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Psst… 8 November, 2006

Posted by Adam in Web marketing.
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We hope to have some really interesting news regarding search engine optimisation solutions for our clients very soon – watch this space!

Amazon will eat itself 8 November, 2006

Posted by Adam in Business.
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For a company renowned for building a reputation for staying one step ahead of the game, surely Amazon’s shift towards allowing other ‘stores’ to sell and fulfill orders under the Amazon banner is a big mistake for its customers?

It’s done in such a way that it’s difficult to tell at first glance whether you are buying from Amazon or someone you have no relationship with, or knowledge of their trustworthiness. For Amazon this model is great as gradually they can reduce their stock and fulfilment commitments, but I think it sucks for customers. Here’s why. I bought five things from them the other day – not particularly high ticket items, some gel wrist pads, a case for an iPod – that kind of thing. However I later realised that out of the five items only ONE was actually sold to me by Amazon – the rest where inadvertantly bought from these leech ‘stores’ which nestle under the Amazon umbrella. The thing is that every one charged seperately for postage – and in some cases close to the items cost! If I had bought all these items from the one store – which I believed I was doing – I would have been charged postage for the order – not per item – so I’ve actually ended up paying as much for carriage as I have for the items I bought!!

This is surely short-sighted of Amazon and an example of when a good idea for the company may be a bad idea for customers – and therefore, ultimately, for business.

Web 2.0 – a jolly jaunt with cheese 7 November, 2006

Posted by Adam in General.
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I was lucky enough to blag a free ticket, ahem, attend a conferencelast night (6/11/06) in Taunton, Somerset concerning the topic of Web 2.0. Not only was my good friend and colleague Bill Wells (of 2.0 Ltd – I kid you not!) organising the video recording of the event (for future vidcast), but ‘podcast-rockstar’ Paul Boag (http://www.boagworld.com/ – reputedly the worlds’ most subscribed-to web design podcast), someone who was hugely influential in Rokk Media moving to Web Standards, was one of the guest speakers.

The event was well attended, and probably one of the most professional I’ve been to in these here parts – so congrats to all involved.

The theme of the evening was the hot-topic de jour – “Web 2.0” buzz or bizz – hype-full or hope-less!

Speakers included Dan Hilton from Rubberductions, Simon Price from Bristol University (who demonstrated some amazing applications for gathering and interpreting web-based data which he insisted was Web 1.5); and two very eloquent Pauls from the BBC – who showed some amazing web-based applications that the Beeb have been working on. Finally Paul Boag who took a swipe at the hype filling a very entertaining 20 minutes or so.

Most speakers, possibly with the exception of Simon, showed how Web 2.0 can be fairly neatly boxed into a huge take-up of broadband fuelling a massive growth in social network/communicate centric sites that use cool technologies like AJAX and Ruby On Rails (among others), and a clean, matter-of-fact design approach aimed at getting straight to the heart of the proposition. Paul Appleby from the BBC was also keen to point out that the web is Darwinian – evolving, gene-like, and could not therefore be realistically likened to a software application in the version x.0 mould – fair point Paul!

After the speakers concluded with a Q & A (a much nicer term than FAQ – what went wrong there in Web-lore?), a sumptious buffet of rustic fare was provided – apples, cheese, scones and strawberries – oh yes.

On my way back from the event, battling to keep from crossing lanes on the motor-way in a 3 foot visibility pea-souper, I mulled the wise words of the five speakers and something else occurred to me. Thinking back to the eleven or so years that I’ve been involved in web design and development I can see a definite growth-curve emerging – but not so much with regards to the technology or appearance of sites (in fact I can probably show you a duplicate example of anything that exists today that emerged in a previous time). The growth I have seen, is in the understanding and appreciation that clients have for the Web – and how it can enhance and rocket-fuel their individual businesses.

Ten years ago – for example – you couldn’t give away a Web Site! In fact the bulk of our ‘hot prospects’ were “The Internet you say? Oh yes, heard of that – could you come over and show me what it looks like?”. Ten years later and the landscape couldn’t be more different. Clients come to us now knowing exactly what they want out of their web presence, fully aware of the power an online presence can have on their success of their business.

From our point of view this is fantastic. No longer do we have to go through the painful process of convincing our clients that the Web is the way to go!

For me that’s the real evolution of the Web.

Rokk on!