Friday, April 20, 2007

Web 2.0 is all about the money?

In his newest article, David Lazarus discusses Web 2.0 and the implications of the DoubleClick acquisition.

Two observations:

1. The headline of the article and the first two paragraphs are completely misleading and utterly wrong.

"Web 2.0 is all about money

The Web 2.0 crowd totally cracks me up -- all this prattle about reinventing the wheel, as if networking and community building haven't been core aspects of the Internet since day one.

You want to know what Web 2.0 is really about? It's about who makes the most money off the largest captive audience since the invention of television. And nothing underlines the stakes of this contest like Google's planned $3.1 billion takeover of online ad agency DoubleClick."

I have no idea what the Google and DoubleClick acquision has to do with Web 2.0. Both are 1.0 (1.5 at best) companies trying to move into the 2.0 space. Google's and DoubleClick's mission is not to build communities or to try to connect in innovative ways with online consumers. And, yes, of course, the acquisition is all about money. Just not Web 2.0.

2. The rest of the article discusses a topic that most online marketers are trying to rationalize, brush aside or just forget. But it might become a huge problem for the online space. I'd venture to say that 99% of all online users have no idea what's happening behind the computer screen. They don't know their online behavior is being tracked and analyzed.

The online marketing industry has to seriously discuss the implications of Behavioral Targeting. We're trying desperately to connect with consumers in new ways and clients expect immediate results. But we track and analyze without the consent and knowledge of the consumer. Last summer's AOL PR disaster, when they released their search logs, should remind us that we're walking a fine line. We need to get input from the consumer to help us clearly define the line. What is acceptable? What is creepy? Too long we've been running the BT show without involving the consumer. We better do it soon or we'll have to pay a price. The last thing we need is another AOL disaster.

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