Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Web 2.Uh Oh Week in SF - Where are the Users?!

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 7, 2006

The Web 2.0 conference is happening this week in San Francisco. And these days, lots of startups characterize themselves as Web 2.0 companies because their products offer collaborative tools, sharing of virtually anything, and their products use AJAX.

Most of the Web 2.0 companies offer products that are very, very similar to each other. They all enable communities to share or not share their content or applications, and to do it in many different ways, from  using 3D Avatars,  to sending out their content to mobile phones - it all melds into a blur.

It is difficult mustering any interest in Web 2.0 companies unless they have a community of users. And I don't mean "registered users." I've registered for at least 100 sites and never went back.

If a Web 2.0 company can show it has a large enough and growing community of users, then I'll take notice. Just because a Web 2.0 company offers a Swiss-army knife array of collaborative functions, and/or it uses AJAX, means nothing.

Show me your users and that's when I'll take notice. 

Is YouTube a Web 2.0 company? Yes. Is that why it achieved a value of $1.6bn? No. It is the huge community that YouTube managed to coral into one place - that's the $1.6bn of value created.

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