The loss of innocence and Web 3.0

santa.jpgI spent a little while looking at the Norad and Google Earth Santa tracking features with my seven year old son on Christmas Eve.

To my suprise his main question to each in turn was "How does this site make money". I did not know whether I should laugh or cry ;-)

His question reminded me of the discussion of 'Web 3.0' on Phil Wainewright's ZDnet blog:

Probably the most crucial feature missing from Web 2.0 can be summed up in one word: revenue.No one has figured out how anyone pays for this stuff Ever wondered why virtually every Web 2.0 wannabee is offering their service for free? The reason is no one has figured out how anyone pays for this stuff. The only thing keeping it going at present is the sheer enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs themselves, with the lucky ones getting funded by VCs who hope to cash in when they flip the concept to a well-heeled trade buyer like Google, Microsoft or eBay. Even the big guys are funding their beta services out of their own pockets, hoping the money will eventually start coming in but with no certainty yet of exactly how. [� The missing feature at the heart of Web 3.0 | Software as services | ZDNet.com]
Image via the Google Earth Blog.

Comments: 3

Dec 27, 2005
K.G. Schneider

But sir, warn't that what people said about the Web in the late 1990s? Then the chaff flew away and we were left with... well, Amazon and LiveJournal. Hmmmm, you may have a point...

Dec 31, 2005
David Leslie

If my son (who is now two) asked me that at 7, I would have to cry. Then I would start to explain the story of the NORAD Santa track as well as how the site is funded by the US Department of Defence in cooperation with Santa's PR firm. Google is funded by an insanely inflated stock price and folks with an overabundance of creativity (check out their April fools jokes as an example).

Yet the topic of 'how does this make money' comes up anytime the QP team discusses many of the issues impacting virtual reference so I'm glad to read we're not the only ones scratching our heads.

Jan 04, 2006
Luther Blissett

I was looking at this Christmas eve with my 7-year-old son too, but he was more interested in the magic of Santa (how does he get around so fast?!) than in the magic of Google. By now I think he kind of expects all e-media to be free, and I've found myself having overly nuanced conversations with him about copy-protection on DVDs, why it's ok for me to rip CDs to my iPod, any why some computer games cost money while others are freely downloadable. In the end, though, as with Santa, so with Google - as long as the stuff is good and all that's required is healthy respect for the magic, in the end it doesn't matter who pays. :-)