If I ran CNET (never happen) and was in the mood to acquire some Web 2.0
up-and-comers to invigorate the brand (and grab some industry
headlines), here's who I'd buy...
Do one thing, do it well. This is the Web 2.0 mantra, and digg
exemplifies it. They find the coolest Web content, as derived from
community consensus. Despite reaching a relatively niche audience
(seriously, how many people really design CSS Web pages as
their main activity), digg is one of the top ten content referers on
the net. Yahoo had a $35 million buyout offer on the table, but I never heardof it being consummated (Yahoo! already has del.icio.us, and flickr, so digg is really gravy for Semel & Co.). I'll overlook the fact that digg users hate my guts, and concede that this is a great Web 2.0 idea that is only going to get more expensive the longer somebody waits to buy it.
- 37Signals. These guys own the leading edge of Ruby on Rails development, which is the hottest Web coding platform going (or so the early adopters and pundits have said). They make successful Web-based applications—Campfire, Basecamp, Backpack—that
at least the aforementioned early adopters and pundits believe can
compete with Microsoft's heavy duty productivity tools. They have areal flair for clean, catchy, effective design. That, and they blog well.
Nothing beats pictures to make step-by-step isntructions easier, and
since everyone (but me) has an online photo site account, Instructables
is the niche remix site for all that underutilized data. Instructables
let's you upload images and quickly arrange them into a visual how-to
guide. It's a niche application that appeals to everyone, the ultimateWeb 2.0 idea. Mix it with the photo sharing service of your choice.
If video mashups are the new mixtape, then YouTube is the new jam
party. YouTube lets you upload, tag, and trade digital video clips, and
the interface is so intuitive and viral that you'd swear Apple designed
it. This one has almost no business application whatsoever, other than
being the biggest cashcow in the brief history of Web 2.0. Bigger than
flickr. Bigger than digg. Someday soon, everyone will trade DRM-busted
Tivo clips and digital home video via ubiquitous broadband, and YouTube
is the platform that will make it happen. Once Hollywood gets off their
DRM delusions, YouTube will make even Google quiver. You heard it herefirst.
So, what would I do with this fantastic four. Well, in true Web2.0
fashion, I'd create a mashup. I'd build a platofrm for highlighting,
sharing, and remixing everything you've got saved on the Web, and build
a whole community around it with one giant shared API. Video, audio,
stills, code? Throw it all in and arrange it into something new. Remix
DJs of the new Web superculture. But me, I'm a dreamer. That's why I'm
not in charge.