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Why facebook is killing “web 2.0″ apps

November 5th, 2007

NextBigThingFacebook and Open Social are currently the “next big thing.” In a way, they are taking over the mindshare previously occupied by the vaguely defined “web 2.0″ crowd. For example, Kleiner Perkins has publicly stated that it isn’t interested in web 2.0 companies. First, let me define those two concepts and then explain why web 2.0 companies have to quickly adapt or die.

Facebook – a site that allows you to create a personal profile and link to your friends. In addition, facebook now lets you decide what applications should be allowed to access that information. It also alerts you to changes in your friends profiles and to actions that they take in their applications. MySpace, LinkedIn and Ning are other prominent social networking sites.

Web 2.0 – sites that ask you to contribute in order to improve your own experience on the site or to improve the experience of everyone else. Technically, they often involve highly interactive features, like google maps. You can cruise techcrunch.com for a list of literally hundreds of web 2.0 companies, including some of my favorites:feedburner (which powers the rss feed and email alerts here on weiksner.com), 37signals, del.icio.us, last.fm and digg.com.

I think Facebook and other social networking sites can drive many web 2.0 applications out of business, because applications on facebook don’t require you to reenter your personal data. The smart web 2.0 businesses are realizing that they have to redeploy their applications to run on top of social networks. In this new position, though, most applications will be in subservient relationship to facebook, who retains the master relationship with each individual. But the competitive pressure is too great: why try to convince someone to reenter their personal data when facebook already knows it?

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