What the hell is Web 2.1 RC 1 ?
Now that the economy is getting back on it's feet, people are looking to computers again to make money without working. But they're predictably skeptical about the promised 300% ROI, especially considering where the retirement money went last time around. But don't worry, this time we've called it Web 2.0 and we're doing things right.
What went wrong last time around?
The "bubble" was a catastrophe from a business standpoint. Let's start with a dirty little marketing secret: while "bubble" sounds chic, nobody thought to call it that until afterwards. Even then it immediately had negative connotations.
Back in 1995 when Bill Gates invented it, it was called "the Interweb". How boring is that? Why didn't the web have a cool, attention-grabbing name? The answer brings us to problem number 2: in the Nineties, the web was run by unemployed twenty year old screendesigners.
Their typical Interweb business plan looked like this:
Since everybody loves animals, we'll grab animals.com and make it the premier site for selling animals and animal byproducts like pet food and leashes on the Interweb. We'll acquire massive funding to buy a fleet of trucks shaped like dogs. Products bought by the customer will be delivered to him or her in those trucks, immediately strengthening brand visibility. New Interweb technologies allow entirely new forms of marketing. For example, we can send electronic Em@il letters to every single person in the world at the click of a button, at a fraction of the cost of a single newspaper advert!
Anyone looking back at this business plan recognizes three glaringly obvious problems. First off, animals.com is a stupid name because it's already registered.
Second, how would a cat owner feel about her new cat being delivered in a dog shaped truck? At bare minimum, you'd have needed trucks in the shape of America's top five pets: dogs, cats, gerbils (which double as hamsters), parakeets and snakes.
Not these problems couldn't have been solved. But how come no one recognized the most fundamental problem of the plan? Nobody in their right mind would ever buy anything on the Interweb! Hello!? Enter my credit card number in a little box on some anonymous, random computer in the former Soviet Union? I don't know how many digits credit card numbers consisted of in the 90s, but mine has like a zillion and would take me about 15 minutes to type.
So what are we doing better this time around? Proper branding, right from the start. It's Web 2.0. Very cool, very quick, one glance and no questions left to ask. Web 2.0 is genius because it ages gracefully with no loss of brand recognition. Though 2.0 is still an infant, things have stabilized, and we're already nearly ready to call it Web 2.1, stay tuned for Web 95 and Web Vista.
Under New Management
We've made some changes in staffing. The twentysomethings are great when it comes to idealism, creating new trends and buying stuff. But as Jeff Bezos says: "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain." So we've decided the unemployed twentysomethings won't be running the place anymore. The typical Web 2.0 movers and shakers are in their thirties, have ten years job experience, typically as self-employed IT-Engineers or freelance webdesigners.
Respectable Business Models
So how would animals.com be done the Web 2.0 way? If I want a puppy I'll go to the pound or something to get one, no need to buy one on the interweb, thank you very much.
But what happens once that puppy is at home and no longer fun? The Ebay I know doesn't allow you to sell animals. Everyone who's ever owned a dog knows the problem. An obvious problem screaming for a lucrative solution: provide a service to make pets less boring! Our new business plan starts like this:
Concentrating on a single species allows us to focus on a single target audience. With five of years experience as a self-employed canine-service engineer, dogs are my area of expertise and the obvious target at the launch of the service. The Web 2.0 dog service needs an intuitively accessible name. We feel that doggr.com expresses exactly the way we feel about dogs. Doggr.com is unique, recognizable and still available for registration.
Now that the most important points are taken care of, what will we sell? How to make money?
Web 2.0 is all about service, social networking and network marketing. Imagine a community of dogs!
Doggr.com -- Blogs for Dogs. In the last ten years, technological advances such as Ajax made this dream a reality. Social networking for dogs and their owners. While we were previously restricted to sending Em@il letters to every person on earth, social networking allows us to also reach their friends. With its first round of venture capital, Doggr.com has acquired a fleet of cheap, used, dog-shaped trucks which serve to strengthen brand visibility. Costumed employees will visit dog owners all over the United States and implant GPS transmitting devices into them. The Doggr.com website will feature a mapping application which will allow members to immediately locate the exact position of their dog. In the long run, this will allow us to track their behavioral patterns in order to understand dogs and their owners and to use this information to market relevant products and services for dogs. The Doggr.com website will also feature a box allowing dog owners to enter the email addresses of other dog owners they know.
An exciting service dog owners will love to use, because it provides them with features that have true value.
And it doesn't stop at 2.0. We're about to witness the next step in interweb history. Web 2.1 Release Candidate 1 (W21RC1). Since we've developed it on Macs, there's still some bugs to work out in the Windows version. But as soon we find the license key in order to install Windows XP, we'll sort those out and create a beta release. It will be awesome! (Curvy edges and all.)
Tim Becker (firstname.lastname@example.org)