Web 2 0 Build On It

Web 2 0 Build On It

In 1999, ICMediaDirect.com opened up shop as​ an​ online advertising agency, and​ we viewed our chosen milieu, the​ Internet, as​ a​ limitless possibility – there was no talk of​ bubbles, no clouds on the​ horizon. in​ fact, conversations in​ the​ business tended to​ include terms like venture capital or​ IPO and​ it​ didn’t matter who was talking. We knew who scored what and​ when. Like weekend golfers talking about the​ Masters, we dreamed of​ being the​ next eBay. Guys like me with, well, ordinary websites talked turkey, big turkey. and​ why wouldn’t we? Those were halcyon times then.

And they’re back – except, ahem, this time it’s different. I hope. Nah, I’m sure of​ it.

Y2K was distinctly a​ time of​ fortuitous updraft; we were swept up in​ a​ tide of​ optimism. This Internet thing seemed like it​ was going to​ last forever. the​ early 90’s brought us a​ proliferation of​ interconnected tech advances that gave rise to​ a​ new medium of​ business.

Personal computing had become universally available and​ affordable. Rapid advancements in​ the​ digital media field, improvements in​ size and​ scope of​ network infrastructures, and​ the​ rise of​ giant Internet companies for​ connection and​ service created an​ Internet we still recognize today. Deals went down, geeks got rich (or richer), and​ about the​ magic in​ this Internet – we believed.

There was a​ problem, though – promise and​ wonder alone cannot fill out a​ bottom line. Economic reality called in​ its chips and​ publicly traded stocks, the​ most successful of​ the​ start-ups who’d already actually “made it”, with their valuations 100, 200, 300 times earnings came tumbling down. So, that money, which had raced too far ahead of​ ideas and​ their implementations, retreated. and​ when the​ markets soured, so too did sentiment.

Money, as​ it’s wont to​ do, overtook dreams; it​ had run right past the​ sensible bounds of​ ideas. Soaring stock prices and​ gaudy deals in​ unproven fields had created a​ nasty bubble. it​ was the​ Web 1.0 bubble, but at​ the​ time I thought it​ was a​ buying opportunity.

It was March 2000 when the​ tech market started tanking. Actual technology however, never retreated, even though the​ casual observer might have thought engineers went to​ find new careers. Okay, some did, but still, science did not retreat. So, as​ the​ money dried up, Internet capability continued to​ grow.

And it​ grew rather quietly until the​ shape of​ a​ Web 2.0 was recognized. Like the​ Internet itself, Web 2.0 did not start with the​ flip of​ a​ switch, but instead it​ materialized with the​ gradual confluence of​ profitable web ventures, added Internet usability, and​ mass availability to​ high-speed connection.

I am not uncomfortable crowning Google king, or​ at​ least the​ most emblematic of​ Web 2.0 examples. in​ fact, while the​ dot-com bust was at​ its most bleak, the​ boom times of​ Google were just getting started.

More importantly, Google and​ their successful IPO mark a​ new age of​ profitability for​ Internet advertising. Sure, people may talk bubble, but they’d be talking about GOOG being overpriced, and​ not a​ leaky boat in​ a​ storm. Google is​ profitable. Yahoo is​ profitable. Microsoft’s AdCenter is​ coming. Ask.com might be on the​ rise. These are big companies vying for​ share in​ a​ profitable Internet arena.

Compare this with the​ original Internet boom, there was certainly competition, sizable big money competition – but over unproven business models that were ultimately unprofitable. It’s different now.

Web 2.0 is​ just getting started. There is​ a​ focus on making the​ Internet a​ platform for​ end users. Paying bills online is​ no longer a​ novelty. Shopping for​ clothes and​ books online is​ commonplace. Mobile music playing components are built around the​ compatibility of​ downloading music off the​ Internet and​ not store bought units. MySpace is​ an​ interactive pen-pal phenomenon far beyond anything we’d have predicted only two years ago. Even Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phoning is​ saving phone customers money.

These are the​ old dreams that went up in​ smoke five and​ six years ago. We’re just getting started.

Joseph Pratt
Media Analyst
e: joseph@icmediadirect.com

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