By Simon Collins, Director, Cashcade Ltd.
A lot has been written and said about ‘Web 2.0′ since the term was coined by Silicon Valley guru Tim O’Reilly in 2005.
The idea is that the growing sophistication of the web makes it more like the operating systems that sit inside our computers, rather than just a big publishing system. Which means it can support sophisticated applications that allow people to publish and share documents, video, images and any aspect of their lives online at almost no cost.
One strand of the Web 2.0 concept is the birth of ‘social media’, which includes online tools such as blogs, wikis and social networks like Facebook. These are forums where people can interact, collaborate and most importantly socialise. Sometimes they are compared to physical public forums, such as town halls or coffee shops, where people congregate to discuss their experiences, problems and passions. Or just to meet new friends.
The Web 2.0 story is certainly an inspiring one and there’s no shortage of things to get excited about – unless of course your primary focus is the bottom line. And then, in true dotcom fashion, the world of Web 2.0 doesn’t have much to shout about. While global conversations shops and people sharing their expertise and views is to be welcomed, it doesn’t buy you a lot of bandwidth.
At Cashcade, we have never used the term Web 2.0 to describe what we do. However, we definitely think of ourselves as serving a social purpose, just as the high street bingo hall has done for many years. While, naturally, people on our forums and websites spend time discussing the games with each other, they also share personal experiences and, sometimes, build friendships. It may not be MySpace or YouTube but it’s definitely very social!
The big difference is that Cashcade (and many of our competitors) is also a profitable well-managed business which doesn’t rely on advertising deals with Google or Microsoft to stay afloat.
So maybe we aren’t so Web 2.0 after all!
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