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January 12, 2006

New Year > New Internet

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Everywhere Media guides you through Web 2.0

The Age of Participation is upon us, and the Internet is at the center of it all. It's being called Web 2.0 and it's ready for primetime. Now, you are probably saying to yourself "I've heard all of this bunk before and it all ended up as worthless stack of paper in an empty 401K". So don't take my word for it. Instead, take a look at your own dealings on the Internet yourself a few questions:

> Do you use Google? how often?
> Every buy something from Amazon? eBay?
> Shop for car on the web? a house? a girlfriend/boyfriend?
> Ever read a blog?...*HINT - if you're reading this posting, you're reading a blog
> Have you ever forwarded an email or web address to your contacts?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, welcome to the "Age of Participation".


So, what's the difference between Web 2.0 and the previous ("dot bomb") era? Let's look to Google, eBay, Amazon for the answers. These companies, and thousands more, are making (a lot of) money off of e-commerce transactions. Many other companies (from small boutique businesses to large corporations) are using the web to dynamically manage marketing campaigns, educate consumers, and keep in touch with their customer base - without licking a single stamp.


Two sides to the story

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First, let's look at the customers side of this story. There are a number of reasons why buyers are now using the web to make purchases:

> High speed bandwidth is now ubiquitous. With DSL and cable now cheaper than dial-up used to be, shoppers have a much more pleasant experience online. Retailers are now spending time and resources on designing and building online storefronts.

> Transactions are secure. These online retailers are using very powerful, secure encryption technology that is military strength. The same technologies are used in the some of the most secure military environments.

>Convenience. A shopper can now sit at home and shop hundreds of sites for the best pricing and best service without getting into the car and burning valuable time and gas. Often times, goods and services arrive at their location the next day.

From the sellers perspective, there are a number of reasons that web 2.0 is a benefit:

> Off the shelf (and off the web) software packages are incredibly affordable. Technology that used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop and maintain in-house, is now available for tens of dollars per month. Upgrades happen seamlessly off the hosting server, usually without the user even aware. These packages can include dynamic publishing environments, email and html campaign management tools, graphics packages, audio and video tools and many more.

> Targeted/affinity based marketing campaigns can be run, tracked and tuned easily, quickly and cheaply - saving thousands of dollars, while dramatically increasing results.

> Creating communities, instead of catalogs. By building online communities, businesses are now having ongoing conversations with customers - not just mailing out catalogs of products and hoping for a response.

Check out Everywhere Media's resource center for papers written on this topic.

Please feel free to participate in this conversation by commenting below.

- Happy New Year!

Posted by 4everywhere at January 12, 2006 03:40 PM

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