Sustainability of web business

Challenges for the WWW industry

We’ve been there before – .com bubble & bust.  But what will be the impact of the current economic collapse on the WWW business?  The first time round many of the businesses did not have any real business  model.  The last number of years have seen ‘established’ businesses embrace and exploit the technology e.g. www.ryanair.com moving to a web based booking model only.  However at the same time we have seen businesss such as the newspaper industry being almost annihilated by the move to the online world.

In two recent pieces the Economist references the challenges being faced by many of the web2.0 and/or Silicon Valley companies.  For instance how will Facebook extract value from its global penetration, how will Twitter make money?

Seems to me we will have the same result again.  Those with a sound business model will survive.  And a sound business plan includes providing something of value – ie something worth more than it costs.  www.linkedin.com seems to be able to generate revenue from its business members.  I think the www.ft.com offering whereby a limited amount of free reading is provided may be a way forward for newspapers.  However business’s also need to understand that the technology itslef has changed the business environment.  News cannot be delivered by print – comment/analysis/ out of the box thinking can be delivered in print.

Should be an interesting next 12 months.

Irish politicians get web 2.0

Congratulations to Fianna Fail on their new website.  Engaging with Joe Rospars (the web2.0 man behind Preisdent Obama’s campaign) was the right call.  Fianna Fail, as the party in government, needs to use all tools at their disposal to get their message across – to persuade all of us to sign up for the tough medicine required.  The site references their presence in Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

Recognising the changes in PR

Web 2.0 has changed the rules.  The traditional engagement with the PR agency – formal and slow – does not work in an environment where the corporate and and the customer may already be interacting via blogs, bebo, facebook, whatever.  And if the corporate is not part of this well perhaps the consumers are dialoging about the corporate using Twitter.

Yet getting th PR right is no less important.  But the process needs to be facilitated and managed in a different way.

Neil O'Gorman's piece in the Sunday Business Post today addresses the issue.

Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom

Today's Irish Times includes detailed reference to 'Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom' – book by Soumitra Dutta and Matthew Fraser of INSEAD.  It's another piece calling Irish business to action in terms of availing of web 2.0 technology.  Companies have lots of employees who are used to using Facebook, Twitter, etc in collaborating in their daily lives – surely it is time to exploit the very real opportunities in Irish corporates?  We all know the benefits and necessity of collaborating – be it family events, school projects, playing team sports, organising school runs.  There is no argument about the merits of collaborating in the workplace – both internally and externally.  We now have technologies which make all of this a great deal easier.  And we have lots of people who want to use them.

The web site associated with the book is an excellent working example of the use of these technologies – incorporating the use of traditional brochure type avertising, a blog for publishing views of the authors (and inviting comment) and a wiki  to encourage collaboration with interested parties across the globe.