Feeds

Failing Web 2.0 stars pray for copyright abolition

Wanted: starving artists to help out web tycoons

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Remember the date - the one about an inch above the words you're reading now. 27 May 2008.

Two articles were published today of some note, and if you can put them in context, you can begin see the true, scary picture of internet economics today. The one that's usually too scary for the posh papers or broadcast media to describe.

Exhibit One is a deadpan report in the Financial Times, bylined to Chris Nuttall and Richard Waters. It's titled, "Web 2.0 fails to produce cash ".

This could be the least-surprising headline of this (or any) year. Dog Bites Man rarely makes the news. As we predicted years ago, Web 2.0 was only ever a rhetorical bubble, designed to boost a clutch of no-hope investments into the arms of an acquirer. For a handful of others - mostly pundits - it was a lifeline from a dead-end media job into gurudom. It didn't take a genius to work that out.

(We also despaired that Web 2.0 failed to address any of the significant technical challenges of the day. Which, alas, has proved true - even after VCs have spunked $1.5bn of cash at the Javascript kiddies, we're no nearer to solving these problems. That's because Web 2.0 was "interface" level people trying to solve "infrastructure" level problems - which is a bit like supposing that a talent for painting garden gnomes qualifies you for designing skyscrapers that don't fall over.)

Nuttall and Waters point out that now the VC money is drying up, investors can see that there's precious little to show for Web 2.0 in terms of sustainable businesses.

A good example is YouTube. Acquiring the site cost Google $1.7bn, but even with a "global" audience and Google's best brains now piloting the operation, it only earned $31m last year. Even bullish analysts (Bear Stearns) don't expect this to get beyond $90m this year, and around $165 in 2012. Page rates, which the industry measures in CPMs (cost per thousand), will barely eke above $5. Someway short of hopeful, recent estimates.

So where do Web 2.0 companies go from this vale of tears, this endless sea of red ink, populated by the pastel-coloured rounded rectangles of sinking startups?

Exhibit Two gives us a clue.

We're broke. Can you help us?

It's a post by Gertrude Stein-lookalike Michael Arrington, an investor who hypes companies he invests in. And who recently suckered the Washington Post into reprinting his nepotistic little tip-sheet, Tech Crunch.

"It’s time to rethink copyright laws, and it’s time for copyright holders to rethink their business models," he urges.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.