Monday, October 13, 2008

More private, more focused, survive the economic downturn

Today at ThinkerNet, Mike Moran had an interesting post about virtual worlds going private. It reminds me a few thoughts in my mind for quite a while: is the Web industry moving to a sector that is more private and more focused (in contrast to more public and more general)? Moreover, is it the way that IT companies may survive through this economic downturn?

What is the difference between Unisfair and Second Life? Or what is the difference between Yammer and Twitter? Private versus public, target-focused versus general-purpose.

During an economic upturn, free, public, and general-purpose services could be great in revenue generation. The model maximizes the door to allow as many users as possible. The service providers may then monetize the traffic flow in a decent way.

However, the former model could be dangerous in an economic downturn, such as at present.

By nature, we humans would like move closer to our family or close friends when a danger is coming. In an economic downturn, people become less interested in casual social activities. By contrast, they want to make their actions more focused and more private. Either may they get comfort from the relatives, or they may obtain serious help by communicating with particular groups of people. As the result, the small private and target-focused social sites might become more popular than their general-purpose and much larger competitors, even if they may ask for a small amount of subscription fee.

As a brief summary, World Wide Web and the Web industry are still new. There are so many new phenomena that need us to think and discover the new regulations. A crisis is indeed a terrible thing to waste.

No comments: