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Jumping on the Web 2.0 Bandwagon


The advent and subsequent acquisition, by Google, of You Tube in 2006 brought the new web paradigm, otherwise known as Web 2.0 to the fore. This was further reinforced when Time magazine made the web community their 'Person of the Year', amidst frequent references to citizen journalism and the consumers becoming the producers.

Whether or not the world is quite ready to embrace Web 2.0 in all its glory, what is certain is that sites like You Tube, Blogger, and other services centred around user generated content are here to stay. Alongside MySpace and other social networking services, these all add up to a revenue opportunity.

The trick is in knowing how to leverage these Web 2.0 style services alongside site specific content. People like to have their say, but there is no use simply giving them a blank canvas; they need something to talk about, and a reason to start typing.

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RSS & Blogging

Part of the issue is getting the right kind of visitor to stop by a web site and bring their own added value. One solution is to provide an RSS feed. The mnemonic RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and describes a mechanism coupled with media.

The media in question is an XML file; a structured text file, where the information provided to the user agent reading the file is split into tags. The mechanism is a self-updating script, which makes sure that the RSS file (the XML) is always kept fresh, so long as the site is updated.

This means that, subsequently, anyone who views the RSS feed is alerted when new content is created. Where this comes into its own is by integrating the RSS feed with third party tools such as Blogger, Google and Yahoo!. In fact, the latter two services provide a very easy interface to this, whereby a Google or Yahoo! user can add the feed to their personalised pages on those services.

The result is that the RSS content is made available to everyone on Google and Yahoo!, but is likely to get lost in the torrent of self-updating content. However, RSS feeds also add to the weighting given by both services to search results, and the added benefits of those should be obvious.

Blogging, and user-submitted content services such as Wikipedia, Digg and provide another Web 2.0 mechanism by which a web site can benefit from increased interactivity. The principle behind all of these services is that the user suggests (identifies, or promotes) content found on the world wide web.

Of course, a blog has now become something more, like a public access newspaper, and will often end up as a recommendation entry in a Digg category, or Wikipedia entry. Offering the possibility for users to add the article that they are reading to Digg,, or other syndication service is the bare minimum required to increase exposure.

Old School Web 2.0 Features

There are also some other avenues of user-interactivity that can be explored, and given a Web 2.0 twist. For example, simple awards sites rapidly turned into clones of the infamous, and it is natural to assume that these will continue to exist into Web 2.0, albeit in a different format.

User comments have also been around for a while, but in the Web 2.0 context, coupled with RSS and tagging, they take on a new meaning. Coupled with social networking (a la MySpace), the simple user comment form has been taken forward in a way which often provides self-perpetuating traffic.

The trick is in tapping into a community that cares. In Web 2.0 everyone is given a voice, with which to show how much they care. Simply voting for a favourite, or recommending a page to a friend, has taken on a new meaning now that circles of trust can be built up between members of an electronically connected society.


Web 2.0 is all about user generated content. One of the key benefits of user generated content is that the site creator has very little work to do in getting a large amount of search engine index-able content, rich with targeted keywords. The visitors making the comments may not even be aware that they are providing this value.

On top of which, as a communication tool, Web 2.0 features like RSS and user blogs, make the whole enterprise much more attractive to other potential visitors. A proportion of these visitors will go on to become revenue streams – either as customers, or at least passive generators such as click-through or page view traffic.