This e-book—based on Chapter 3 of Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 4/e—introduces the principles, applications, technologies, companies, business models and monetization strategies of Web 2.0. We’ll be updating this e-book frequently. For the latest HTML version, visit http://www.deitel.com/freeWeb20ebook/. It is also available as a downloadable, fully-formatted PDF for a small fee.
When the Mosaic browser was introduced in 1993, the web exploded in popularity. It continued to experience tremendous growth throughout the 1990s—a period referred to as the “dot-com bubble”; that bubble burst in 2001. In 2003 there was a noticeable shift in how people and businesses were using the web and developing web-based applications. The term Web 2.0—coined by Dale Dougherty of O’Reilly® Media1 in 2003 to describe this trend—became a major media buzzword, but few people really know what it means. Generally, Web 2.0 companies use the web as a platform to create collaborative, community-based sites (e.g., social networking sites, blogs, wikis, etc.). Web 2.0 was popularized by the annual O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 Summit (launched in 2004), in Tim O’Reilly’s defining article on Web 2.0 entitled, “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software,”2 and in John Musser and Tim O’Reilly’s for-sale report, “Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices.”3
The growth of Web 2.0 can be attributed to some key factors. First, hardware keeps getting cheaper and faster, with memory capacities and speeds increasing at a rapid rate. Moore’s Law states that the power of hardware doubles every two years, while the price remains essentially the same.4 This allows for development of applications with high demands that would have been previously unthinkable. Second, broadband Internet use has exploded—aPew Internet study in March 2006 found 42% of American adults had high-speed Internet in their homes. Of the 35% of Internet users who had posted content online, 73% had broadband Internet.5 The abundance of digital media online would never have been possible without high-speed Internet. Third, the availability of abundant open source software (see Section 3.11) has resulted in cheaper (and often free) customizable software options. This makes it easier to start new Web 2.0 companies and greatly decreases the cost of failure. Fourth, unlike in Web 1.0 (the state of the web through the 1990s and early 2000s), there are many easy-to-employ models available to monetize Web 2.0 businesses—immediately generating (modest amounts of) revenue allows for more stable growth of new companies.
Our information on the companies in this chapter comes from common knowledge, the company websites and the footnoted books and articles.