December 18, 2009

The Impending Pop of the Web 2.0 Bubble

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to this Wired article. As I read the piece, more and more I started to see a lot of similarity to the Internet environment of the Dot.Com bubble burst we all enjoyed so much at the turn of the Milennium.

Whereas the Dot.Com era was awash with everyone and their cousins establishing Web sites designed to sell things, and then investors suddenly asking "where's the value in this," and the whole thing falling apart like toys made in China, now we're seeing something similar with crappy Web ads and junk content being uploaded to YouTube by the buttload. I just don't think it's a viable financial model in the long run.

I mean, with a lot of Internet ads, the basic premise seems to be to try to trick people to click them. There are pop-up ads, pop-under ads, expandable ads, roll-over ads, and they're all basically designed to A) Annoy the living hell out of you and B) Get you to click them, intentionally or not. It's the click that counts, although I've read there's some effort to track activity after a click to determine whether a click originated from an actual, interested person.

Regardless, it all seems like an advertising strategy that's largely built on a ridiculously shaky house of cards. At some point, someone is going to figure it out, too.

Say what you will about print advertising, when it comes right down to it, people aren't going to "accidentally" or "unintentionally" call a company after seeing a hardcopy advertisement. When someone calls a business after seeing a hardcopy ad, you can be reasonably sure they're an interested potential customer.

While I don't doubt there are some online ads that get clicked out of genuine interest for the product or service being touted, I don't think that percentage is very high. In fact, I imagine that percentage is so small, you need a scientific calculator to determine exactly what that tiny percentage is.

When you have a company devoted to creating buttloads of crappy video and content so as to run that content alongside similarly crappy and annoying online advertising, you've reached the point where something's gotta give.

2010 could be an interesting year for Web 2.0. Excuse me while I take cover now.

Posted by Ryan at December 18, 2009 04:33 PM | TrackBack
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