October 2, 2005
@ 02:02 AM

Tim O'Reilly has posted What Is Web 2.0? : Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software which further convinced me that the definition of Web 2.0 used by Tim O'Reilly and his ilk may be too wide to be useful. In the conclusion of his article he writes

Core Competencies of Web 2.0 Companies

In exploring the seven principles above, we've highlighted some of the principal features of Web 2.0. Each of the examples we've explored demonstrates one or more of those key principles, but may miss others. Let's close, therefore, by summarizing what we believe to be the core competencies of Web 2.0 companies:

  • Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability
  • Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them
  • Trusting users as co-developers
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
  • Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models

The next time a company claims that it's "Web 2.0," test their features against the list above.

The list seems redundant in some places and could probably be reduced to 3 points. Half the bullet points all seem to say that the company should expose Web services [in this context I mean services over the Web whether they be SOAP, REST, POX/HTTP, RSS, etc]. So that's point number one. The second key idea seems to be that of harnessing collective intelligence such as with Amazon's recommendation engine, Wikipedia entries and folksonomies/tagging systems. The final key concept is that Web 2.0 companies leverage the long tail. One example of the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 when it comes to harnessing the long tail is the difference between http://www.msn.com which is a portal that has news and information of general interest that aims at appealing to broad audiences (one size fits all) and http://www.start.com which encourages people to build their own portal that fits their needs (every niche is king).

So let's review. Tim O'Reilly's essay can be reduced to the following litmus test for whether an offering is Web 2.0 or not

  • Exposes Web services that can be accessed on any device or platform by any developer or user. RSS feeds, RESTful APIs and SOAP APIs are all examples of Web services.
  • Harnesses the collective intelligence knowledge of its user base to benefit users
  • Leverages the long tail through customer self-service

So using either Tim O'Reilly's list or mine, I'd be curious to see how many people think http://www.myspace.com is a Web 2.0 offerings or not. If not, why not? If so, please tell me why you think all the folks who've called MySpace a Web 2.0 offering are wrong in my comments. For the record, I think it isn't but would like to compare my reasons with those of other people out there.


Sunday, 02 October 2005 02:17:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
MySpace is nothing like the type of entity one thinks of when talking about Web 2.0.. it's a walled garden where you sign up to boast you have more friends than the other person does and look at scantily-clad people. And perhaps meet some of them, or go to their bands' shows. It's mainly just a bunch of advertising surrounding profiles, messages and blog entries.

If just the fact that it depends on communities makes it web 2.0 then stuff like livejournal is way more 2.0-ish. There's definitely no 'long tail leveraging' going on in MySpace, it's just the old-school 'more eyeballs + more ads = more money' formula.
Sunday, 02 October 2005 02:53:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Web 2.0 is thriving on the blogs within the Microsoft developer community.

We’re syndicated and aggraded all around the planet but MSN hasn’t found us yet.
Sunday, 02 October 2005 17:02:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Is MySpace Web 2.0? Not quite. It's a walled garden, as you say, but on the other hand it does seem to leverage the "architecture of participation" that we're always talking about. If MySpace had an api and the ability to take your data elsewhere, then it might qualify, since that would make it a web service. Right now, it isn't a web service and so I'd say it's not really web 2.0.

eBay is another possible web 2.0 candidate which raises controversy. I'd say that eBay actually is a web 2.0 offering - it acts as a web service, while building upon the contributions of its users and leveraging the long tail.

But really, I think disagreements about what is and isn't web 2.0 can get a bit academic, and we don't need to seek total agreement, so long as we all get the gist of what's meant.
Sunday, 02 October 2005 20:00:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dare, i think this is a useful excercise, good idea.

I'm not too familiar with MySpace, but right off the bat I'd agree with Pete - no APIs / WS, not Web 2.0. Doesn't even past the starting line.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006 21:44:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I agree that myspace is not a Web 2.0. I have checked out some free software that I thought qualified for Web 2.0. Such as eyeOS.org. Let me know what you guys think.

"Web 2.0. is the next web evolution"
www.postess.com - My Professional Appeal
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