Dot-com bust 2.0

Paul Boag

At the recent geek dinner I attended, we had a heated debate about the current web 2.0 phenomena. I expressed some concern about the lack of a viable business case to support many of these sites. Well, apparently I am not alone in my concerns.

I first expressed my alarm back in November when I wrote a post on the subject. Since then the feeling that the current trend is not so much "web 2.0" as "dot com bust 2.0" has continued to grow. At the geek dinner, I expressed a concern that history was indeed repeating itself and that many web 2.0 companies relied too heavily on the fickle world of advertising to generate income. Surprisingly this created quite a lot of resistance with many people pointing out that some web 2.0 companies were indeed profitable. Although I had to concede that this was the case with some companies such as flickr.com, I still could not shake the feeling of deja vu I was experiencing.

It was therefore encouraging to read Russell Beattie’s recent article entitled WTF 2.0. His article ends with the following statement:

But I really do think there should be a litmus test for new web apps launched from now on – something very basic and if they don’t pass, they don’t qualify for any buzz or linkage. It’s a simple test: Will they take my credit card? That’s it. I don’t care if they have advertisers or sponsors or god knows what else, all I want to see is a place where I can type in my credit card for some service. Maybe it’s a Pro account, maybe it’s the main service after a trial, or maybe I don’t get jack until I pony up the cash.

I couldn’t agree more.

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