Web 2.0 Rant

I was just reading The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines over at ReadWriteWeb (which I read every day), and after supressing my gag reflex, decided to write this post. It’s time we talked about everybody’s favorite buzzword, “Web 2.0.”

Web 2.0 is the Macarena of Buzzwords

Broadly speaking, Web 2.0 refers to any web innovation following the Web 1.0 industry crash in 2000 – 2002. That’s it.

Successful Web 2.0 companies build communities to share information in innovative ways. MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, and Wikipedia all allow people to find and share information on a level humans have never experienced before. This is all fine and dandy.

The Lame Side of Web 2.0

Unfortunately, there is a massive clique of sugar-high people who think Web 2.0 is a candyland of free webapps that perform identical functions to desktop apps. Or even worse, that Web 2.0 is about cuddly pastel logos and cutesy titles. Sites with titles like this:

AnswerBus
Blabline
blinkx
bookmach.com
ChaCha
ClipBlast!
Clusty
collarity
CONGOO
d e c i p h o
Ditto
dumbfind
exalead
factbites
fazzle
filangy
FyberSearch
girafa
gnod
gnosh
GoLexa
goshme Beta 3.0
GoYams
grokker
GRUUVE
hakia
ICEROCKET
ixquick
KartOO
Lexxe
like
liveplasma
lurpo
mnemomap
Mojeek
Mooter
mrquery
MS. DEWEY
Omgili
onkosh
Pagebull
pipl
PlanetSearch
PolyMeta
qksearch
Quintura
Quintura for kids
RedZee
retrievr
riya
scirus
sidekiq
Slifter
soople
Speegle
Sproose
Swamii
Swoogle
Trexy
TWERQ
UJIKO
VMGO.com
WASALive
whonu?
yoono
yoople
yubnub
ZABASEARCH
zapmeta
Zippy
ZUULA

These websites may be jim dandy, but they reek of the self-concious bid to appear hip to their users. Early adopters aren’t daft. Surely all web users are savvy enough to cynically wrinkle up our noses at naked attempts to appeal to the cliched trends of the Web 2.0 style elite.

I think it was Marshall McLuhan who wrote that consumers prefer variations on things they already know, rather than anything actually new. But I imagine Web 2.0 graphic designers are exactly the sort of people who go around quoting a supercilious McLuhan remark and believing it!

And while I’m on my soap box, can we mention the Web 2.0 problem that there are even 100 Top Alternative Search Engines, or that ReadWriteWeb has to update this list every month? Maybe we need another crash so we can clear out the dead wood, and get started on Web 3.0!


Okay. I Took a Deep Breath and I Feel Better

I don’t know why Web 2.0 trendiness irks me so much. Sometimes I suspect that fifty percent of all Web 2.0 startups only exist to promote the other fifty percent of Web 2.0 startups. Or that most blog posters are really bloggers posting in order to promote their own blogs. There’s like this sinister undercurrent of stylish self-promotion lurking just beneath the surface of Web 2.0 that’s extremely difficult to put a finger on. But it’s there. I know it’s there. And it irks me.

Advertisements

9 Responses to Web 2.0 Rant

  1. Glenn says:

    What irks me is the stupid f’n pop ups every time you hover over a link.

  2. Nilo says:

    Regardless of what “web 2.0” means, because in practice it has multiple meanings, you probably know how much effort (people’s work, money) has been put into all those sites of the “lame side of the web” so they can them make your life easier (most of the sites listed are already making smart people’s life easier). So you should have more respect for the work of this “sugar-high” people. Why disdain so much of others effort?

    Scirus, Zabaseach, Icerocket, Hakia, Ditto, Clusty, Blikx, Girafa, Grokker… These are fantastic tools; many appeared even before the bubble (2000), like Scirus, which indexes around 10 million documents (from scientific journals) which you can not even find through Google; Girafa was one of the first companies to offer this little previews of the hyperlinks (which you use, from snap.com). Most of the sites listed don’t proclaim themselves “web 2.0” and not even relate to the term, even if we consider the multiple meanings. So, please, shut up and show some respect.

    The big majority of those companies will fail, fulfilling your desire to “clean out the dead wood” – one in ten will succeed. Unfortunately, that’s how things work. It’s very easy to be seated doing nothing and criticizing all of them. Not easy is to understand which will succeed and how. If you were a smart guy you’d have invested in YouTube in 2005 or in Google in 2000 or in many other companies some years ago, but at this time you could only see them as “the lame side of the web”.

  3. Mike says:

    I’m sorry but this guy is totaly right. You are pretty dumb !!

  4. Jon says:

    Nilo and Mike, your comments are perfectly fair. In all honesty, I immediately regretted publishing that post. But I’ve decided to leave it up rather than rewrite history. And I’ve been completely embarrassed at the traffic the post has received, seeing as it’s not exactly my proudest work!

    All that being said, I wonder if you’re disagreeing with what I wrote, or how I wrote it. I fully acknowledge the many websites listed may be terrific technologies written by really smart people. I just took aesthetic issue with the trendiness of web 2.0 names.

    But I admit my point is probably frivolous and could be interpreted as heedlessly insulting to a lot of talented people.

    Isn’t it odd how a single negative blog rant can draw more web traffic than 50 positive blog posts?

  5. Dane says:

    Jon you crack me up – don’t you realize it’s people from those “Top 100” blog sites you bashed (ironically probably from a Google Alert) that are coming to your site since you referenced their company.

    Way to make 100 enemies in about 6 seconds.

  6. Jon says:

    Dane,

    What are you talking about??

    Jon

  7. Charles Knight says:

    I am the author of the “Top 100 Alternative Search Engines” List, and I am NOT hyped up on sugar, thank you very much! I am hyped up on coffee!! Next time
    get your facts right.

    Charles Knight
    Charles Knight SEO
    Charles@CharlesKnightSEO.com

    Excellent post, BTW.

  8. […] Wednesday, after too many consecutive hours in front of the computer, I succumbed to a blogger rant about Web 2.0. My post is tepid and probably the least interesting thing I’ve written on this blog. I am […]

  9. […] @ 3:58 am Wednesday, after too many consecutive hours in front of the computer, I succumbed to a blogger rant about Web 2.0. My post is tepid and probably the least interesting thing I’ve written on this blog. I am […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: