Byline: Steve. So the topic for this month's blog is "The Internet Marketing Revolution" and I think Rand has provided an excellent foundation to kick off the discussion (was that ok, boss?). So let's dive right into the current issues. Almost everyone I talk to about Internet marketing these days is focused on one of two topics: Search Engine Marketing or Web 2.0. Search engine marketing seems to be well understood and even though it's still the early days it feels like a very mature market already. Web 2.0? Not so much.
Rand is in NYC at the Search Engine Strategies Conference, so hopefully he'll post from there with some insight into what's new in that world. I wanted to take a moment to address Web 2.0.
You know a market is still immature when every speaker begins her presentation with a definition of what Web 2.0 really is. And no matter how many presentations and seminars we attend where speakers attempt to define it, there is still great confusion and/or disagreement as to the true meaning of Web 2.0. I've had discussions with marketers who insist that there is no such thing as Web 2.0 - it's just a term invented by vendors to create hype and drive the demand for more products and services. I've sat through presentations from vendors who insist that Web 2.0 is defined by the use of AJAX and FLEX and other RIAs (Rich Internet Applications). For a whole generation of users, Web 2.0 means social neworking and user-generated content, like MySpace and Facebook and YouTube (and this blog!). They can't all be wrong. But can they all be right?
Yes. They're all correct. Without resorting to the mundane wikipedia defintion of Web 2.0, I think it would be hard to argue that there's not a lot of hype surrounding the issue. I mean, the term was invented by a bunch of marketers trying to drive attendance at a conference in San Francisco. What could be more hypish than that? But I think Paul Graham got it right when he writes of the term "Originally, yes, it was meaningless. Now it seems to have acquired a meaning."
The point of this definition exercise isn't to say that Web 2.0 can mean whatever you want it to mean. Quite the contrary. The point is to say that Web 2.0 is a very broad term that applies to lots of different things. But they are specific different things. Social networking? Yes. User-generated content? Yes. Rich Internet Applications? Yes, sure. But don't let vendors (or analysts, or consultants) hijack the term to hype whatever new tech trend they're trying to foist upon their customers (or clients).
So what does Web 2.0 mean for marketers? Sounds like the topic of a future post...