Everybody remembers the burst of the Internet bubble at the end of last century. Many companies are still very cautious and skeptical after the losses they had to take on their Internet investments, and E-commerce never did fulfill the expectations. But today, the Internet is growing mature. A new Internet is being developed right now. Investors are regaining faith and little start ups are emerging. What’s different this time?
This time, the Internet seems not to be about the money (at least, not directly). Instead of companies trying to find out how to expand their business to the web, today’s most popular web services are about sharing information and connecting people. Ideas are becoming more important than business models. The people are taking back the web that companies have failed to make theirs. A lot of advertising agencies have already closed or sold their Internet departments, the same departments they set up (or acquired) in panic when their clients started worrying about Internet presence.
The panic that struck advertising agencies and their media departments in the nineties, seems to have transformed into a state of comfort. Internet did not keep its promises and everything has gone back to normal again. But what really has been developing after the bubble, is a type of Internet that is far more dangerous to the advertising industry than the previous one. This new type of Internet undermines the very principals advertising has relied on for decades, such as information-asymmetry and top-down content delivery.
Not only the incredible amount of information available on the web will tread these principals, but mostly the social aspect of it. Now, everybody can add information in an extremely easy way, such as writing a weblog. Everybody can read and recommend blogs or blog posts and contact their authors. Every little piece of information is tagged accordingly and every consumer can search all these micro media more efficiently than ever before. Huge groups of people work together (whether they’re aware of their cooperation or not) in order to have good content come forward and bad content being overshadowed. People will be able to review and rate everything, in order to make this enormous stream of information more efficient and more relevant.
All these features of the new Internet are described in Tim O’Reilly’s definition of the so called Web 2.0: Web 2.0 is the network as platform spanning all connected devices. Web 2.0 applications are those who make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform, delivering software as a continuously updating service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an architecture of participation and going beyond the page metaphor of web 1.0, to deliver rich user experiences.