I’ve been dealing with a few clients of late, most of which have heard the ruckus around this newfangled Web 2.0 thing, and most of which want to do something Web 2.0 with their projects. Some want to implement blogs, others are interested in Wiki’s and podcasting, and surprisingly most of them want some Ajax features. The list goes on.
That’s really good because I’m always happy to talk to people about getting more out of the web, specifically around creating better and more valuable user experiences, but the problem I have (and which I communicate) is that Web 2.0 doesn’t just stop at implementing a blog engine, podcasts, a Wiki or Ajax.
How many companies in the UK are blogging? Not many, it seems, according to
a list compiled by Suw Charman
. Not many at all. The list isn’t fully comprehensive, but it highlights the dearth of business blogs in the UK, compared to US.
So why is it that UK and European marketers / business folk are ignoring blogs? I reckon it comes down to one of the following reasons…
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ll probably feel that it’s old hat. The principle is simple – you talk about something that you’re interested and/or passionate about, and through that you find people that are interested in the same sort of things that you are.
Over time if you’re a good write or really passionate or you simply create / get hold of good content, you’ll rise to the top of that niche vertical interest, which in turn will result in more readers.
The problem is that until very recently blogging was kind of hard to do – you have to be at least a little technically literate to be able to use the blog software interfaces. The result being that until recently blogging definitely wasn’t part of the mainstream consciousness.
PayPerPost, a new service that helps advertisers pay bloggers for writing about their products, launched a few days ago to a predictable cacophony of protest.
"Get Paid to Blog", reads the blurb on the latest blog advertising network's front page. "Advertisers are willing to pay you to post on topics - search through a list of topics, make a blog posting, get your content approved, and get paid. It’s that simple.”
And PayPerPost tells its affiliated advertisers: "You provide the topic, our network of bloggers create the stories and post them on their individual blogs." Bloggers can earn $5 to $10 per post, writing about anything from loan sharks to bubble wrap.
Nick Denton is hunkering down, it seems. The Daddy of Gawker Media is reducing headcount and offloading two blogs, having determined that “it is time for a perversely countercyclical move”.
What does he mean by that? He means it is getting harder to make money from blogging, which was never especially easy in the first place.
Want another example of how your customers can communicate your message for you? Check out upcoming new Australian band Wolfmother, which is asking fans to snap and send mobile video clips that will form the basis of the act's next promo.
It's supported by a moblog powered by the London-based moblogUK service, which was popularised when survivors of the city's 7/7 bombings posted camera phone pictures to the site last summer.
Web 2.0 means different things to different people, yet it isn't just about the web, but is also about how your organisation works. Think intranet, as well as internet. Does your organisation work in a 2.0 way?
At the moment there seems to be three primary focuses around Web 2.0:
1) there are the technologists who are figuring out new technologies (there are many libraries and frameworks out there already).
2) there are the marketers and entrepreneurs, who are trying to figure out how use new 2.0 technologies and principles to generate profits, or help empower consumers (call them business people for now) in some way.
3) and finally, there are the users, who are increasingly using and enjoying the results of these new technologies.
But how does all that filter into your organisation in a useful way, feeding into your own innovation cycle?
It used to be that there was this top down content pyramid in operation (operated by traditional media and the big online players), where the quantity and quality of news / content was controlled by relatively fewer organisations.
This is changing rapidly, becoming flatter and more diverse (we’re not really interested in the why’s right now), which can either be seen as an opportunity or a threat. Organisations that embrace this change are going to benefit (think Murdoch buying MySpace), so the question then becomes how one capitalises on the opportunity...
Let's look at some of the key strategic issues to consider.
There's an interesting piece of advice from
using sites like Digg for PR
. In short, don't!
There’s a pretty great post on
about the kind of questions VCs ask when you’re doing a startup, so I thought I’d highlight them here as there seems to be a profound lack of 'noisy' UK-based Web 2.0 startups, and maybe finding finance is one barrier for entrepreneurs?
Where are all the UK web startups? Maybe everybody is just being very quiet (to fail in complete obscurity), or perhaps things are as dead as they seem to be (more than likely). The UK seems almost entirely barren compared with what's happening in the US.
It’s probably worth noting that local VCs seem to be a little behind their US conterparts (two local startups that I can think of off the top of my head have been approached by US investors – names of the innocent withheld). This too could be part of the problem.