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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is venture capital’s love affair with Web 2.0 over? | Tech news blog – CNET News.com

“Silicon Valley remains the hotbed of Web 2.0 activity, but the hipness of start-ups with goofy names is starting to cool in the face of economic reality.
Dow Jones VentureSource on Tuesday released numbers of venture capital activity in Web 2.0 companies and declared that the ‘investment boom may be peaking.’
Venture capitalists put $1.34 billion into 178 deals in 2007, an 88 percent jump over 2006. But once you strip out the $300 million that Facebook raised from Microsoft and others, the numbers don’t look as bullish.
The pace of deal flow, or the number of fundings, has slowed, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Deal flow in 2007 went up 25 percent to 178 deals, but nearly all of those occurred outside the Bay Area, where the number of deals slipped downward.
‘Web 2.0 deals in the Bay Area actually dropped from 74 deals in 2006 to 69 last year and investments were down 3 percent from the $431 million invested in 2006. It’s clear that the real growth in the Web 2.0 sector is happening outside of the Bay Area,’ Jessica Canning, director of global research at Dow Jones VentureSource, said in a statement.”

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The social technography of Web 2.0

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: May 02, 2007 – 11:50AM CT

Mac users are almost twice as likely to generate content on the web as Dell users, according to a new report by market research firm Forrester. The report, titled “Social Technographics,” identifies six different levels of social media participation on the web and breaks down the numbers between the users of two major computer brands: Apple and Dell.

According to the report, Mac users are significantly more likely than Dell users to fall into the “Creators” category—those who publish blogs, web pages, upload videos, and so on—with nearly twice as many Mac users (a bit over 20 percent) being Creators” than Dell users. Mac users were also more likely than Dell users to be “Critics” (those who comment on blogs and otherwise participate in discussion about the content posted by others), “Collectors” (those who use RSS and bookmarking/tagging services like del.icio.us), and “Joiners” (the group that uses social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook). The biggest percentage difference came in the “Spectators” category—those who merely read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch videos, etc.—where roughly 55 percent of Mac users fell but only 30 percent or so of Dell users.

Only about 35 percent of Mac users were “Inactives,” or those who are not involved in the ecosystem whatsoever, versus about 55 percent of Dell users.

The survey was based on the responses of 4,475 adults and 4,556 youngsters in the US in late 2006. Forrester’s research found that as many as 48 percent of overall web users participate in Web 2.0 sites in some manner or another. 13 percent of respondents fell into the Creators category, which is quite a bit larger than the numbers given by Hitwise last month. Hitwise claimed that an extremely tiny percentage of web users are responsible for the content that’s consumed on Web 2.0-type sites. But Hitwise appears to have only focused on sites like YouTube and Flickr, whereas Forrester’s research expands on a broader range of media, such as blogs and social networking sites.

However, while Hitwise’s data implies that the entire rest of the world is merely sitting back and watching, Forrester’s breakdown gives us more insight into what the remaining majority who are not generating content are doing. 19 percent of those surveyed by Forrester were Critics, 15 percent of the audience makes up Collectors, and 19 percent make up the group of Joiners. And finally, 23 percent of the audience falls into the Spectators group.


Data source: Forrester Research

That leaves 52 percent overall of those surveyed who are Inactives. They don’t read, they don’t comment, they don’t network, and they certainly don’t post content for others. While this group encompasses just over half of all web users, Forrester’s research shows how the groups feed into each other to keep the social Web 2.0 ecosystem going. Those Inactives may eventually become Spectators one day, the current Spectators could become Collectors, and so on.

The Mac/Dell breakdown makes sense if demographic stereotypes about Mac users are true: Mac users tend to be more active with new media online than PC (specifically, Dell) users traditionally are, possibly because the bulk of the Mac-using demographic tends to fall into the same, younger age group that most Web 2.0 users fall into. The social participation data will likely be of use to marketers and web sites that want to cater to their audience’s participation tendencies or make use of their audience’s habits to help spread the word about a new site or service. And as the tools for blogging, uploading videos and photos, and commenting become easier and more widespread, more and more of the average web-using audience is likely to join in.

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Voyeurism still rules the Web 2.0 world

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: April 18, 2007 – 10:38AM CT

Popular social web sites such as YouTube and Flickr may not be as popular to contribute to as many of us originally thought, according to Hitwise analyst Bill Tancer, speaking at this week’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. While the Web 2.0 sites have been known to enjoy steady web traffic and heavy viral participation, only small fractions of overall users actually use the services to upload contentAccording to the report, only 0.16 percent of YouTube’s total traffic is made up of users who upload videos. Similarly, only 0.2 percent of Flickr’s regular users are there to upload photos. Wikipedia was the only “Web 2.0” type site in the report that had decent numbers, but even its participation was relatively low at 4.59 percent of visitors adding or editing Wikipedia entries.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of traffic to sites that are meant to help users share photos, videos, and knowledge with each other is made up of people who just want to observe. After all, it takes a lot less effort to be a wallflower than star of the show, even if the “show” is made up of millions of exhibits ranging from hilarious to downright shameful.

Tancer said that despite the seemingly low involvement, however, overall visits to the popular content sharing sites are up by 686 percent since 2005, and currently account for 12 percent of overall web traffic in the US. That number is likely to continue to grow over the next several years, as more and more sites pop up to allow web users to put their lives on display—and take advantage of that voyeuristic tendency in many of us, of course. According to Reuters, Tancer told his audience, “Web 2.0 and participatory sites (are) really gaining traction.”

Just within the last week, Will Ferrell made a splash in the world of user-generated video content with his new site, FunnyorDie, meant to spark more viewer participation by way of voting. Sites like his are only going to become more common as companies and marketers figure out how to coax more participation out of the audience. Could we, one day, have an entirely web-based American Idol?

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