11 Articles for 'Web 2.0'
- 2008/06/10 Web 2.0? No, it's Society 2.0 (4)
- 2007/10/24 Onechoo.com is for shopping 2.0
- 2007/02/22 A fresh start of Web 2.0 Asia (8)
- 2006/08/10 Web 2.0 and the "Sleeping Pills In The Closet" Effect (4)
- 2006/08/04 Richard MacManus puts Korea on Web 2.0 map (3)
- 2006/07/26 How to monetize Web 2.0: The Show-off Economy (4)
- 2006/06/03 Does a mobile phone manufacturer have a shot at Web 2.0? (1)
- 2006/05/17 Tatter & Company, THE company to watch: Part 1
- 2006/05/11 Web 2.0 being most frequently searched in Korean? (2)
- 2006/05/05 Enbee.com : End-to-end photo management solution (5)
So what happened? Here's my one paragraph summary for you: The new Korean president Mr Lee hastily signed the US beef import agreement, without paying close attention to banning the kind of beef that might potentially cause mad cow disease. Fitting his nickname "bulldozer", Lee tried to push through his plan despite serious concerns. Amid this, the traditional media tried to play a cover-up game, accusing the public health concerns as unfounded rumors and the protesters as left-wing manipulators.
But the majority of protesters were not political minds - they were average Koreans who were deeply upset by the government and the old media. Given that many Koreans are web-savvy, always-connected, blogging-like-crazy folks, what we had was essentially millions of angry bloggers.
Ouch. You don't really want to imagine what happens when you have millions of angry bloggers.
Behind the massive physical protests, there are even more massive web activities: Protests are organized by mobile messages and broadcast on the internet live at the scene. But the government and traditional media embarrass themselves on a daily basis by not "getting it". The government once mistook Daum's Agora, the massively popular internet discussion forum, as some kind of secret political party. (Duh?)
It used to be so easy - the government could just set up a plan, push through it, let the media do its part. But the web 2.0 turned nearly every single Korean into a media figure. Now everyone ventilates his or her ideas on the internet, to which all others are responding back and forth - the amount of communication taking place grows exponentially. It ain't simple and easy anymore. If you want to lead people, you should do it in a 2.0 way, or you're doomed.
This is what Korean politicians and old media folks are slowly realizing (if they ever are, that is), in a very painful and costly way. Politicians around the world can learn some important lessons from what's happening in Korea - Are you there, Barack Obama?
PS. There's a deeper analysis on this matter on Taewoo's Technokimchi.
Onechoo.com is for shopping 2.0Web 2.0 | 2007/10/24 01:33 | Web 2.0 Asia
Neowiz is not as famous or big as Naver or Daum but is actually one of Korean internet powerhouses. Neowiz is most famous for Sayclub, the popular online chatting service, and Pmang, an online gaming portal that offers many games including a hugely popular title, Special Force.
The service name "Onechoo" comes from a Korean internet jargon which is believed to have come from "I want you". Onechoo.com allows user to share shopping experience, ask help from other users about what products to buy, share and talk about one's wishlists, etc.
Korean people love to buy digital gadgets and other fancy stuff so much that they call their urge to buy stuff as "the descending of Shopping God". People love to talk about Canon's high-end DSLRs and other stuff, and there are already big communities formed on certain products or brands.
Neowiz wants to capture this potential to create what it calls a shopping 2.0 service, or a service that effectively combines shopping and community. Featurewise, the service isn't exactly a game-changer, but Neowiz has so many users across Sayclub and Pmang and therefore the winning strategy would be to successfully leverage the existing Neowiz user base.
But on second thought, perhaps I might have taken blogging too seriously. Maybe all it takes is to jot down my observations on Korean and Asian Web innovations in a paragraph or two, in a very casual, tongue-in-cheek voice. (Robert Scoble style, maybe?)
Last week, I was visited by a French video blogger named Thierry Bezier. He's had interviews with some big name tech guys from companies like Google, Flickr, Wordpress, and Feedburner. He came to Korea for interviews and I was the first person he contacted - Thierry cited my blog as "the only possible source he could find for information on the Asian web 2.0." I should admit his comment is a bit overrated but I was quite flattered anyway, and comments like his challenge me greatly for kickstarting my blogging again.
Thanks Taewoo and Thierry. By the way, Taewoo Kim is considering about starting a pan-Asian tech blog network in English. Taewoo speaks and writes in English on a native level. Wish all the great success for him, and hope he will invite me as one of the authors.
When I went to see a doctor, he gave me some sleeping pills, but he didn't tell me to take them - instead he said, "the idea that you have these sleeping pills in your closet and that you can take those pills anytime you want will give you peace of mind, which will help you fall asleep."
And you know the rest of the story - it went as the doc said. I didn't have to take a single pill and yet could sleep well, I guess from the peace of mind.
Now let's call this a "sleeping pills in the closet effect", short for "peace-of-mind-from-knowing-the-sleeping-pills-are-in-the-closet effect" ;)
I think this "sleeping pills in the closet effect" has to do with Web 2.0. (I can hear you say, "duh"?)
Web 2.0 is all about user generated content (UGC) and collective intelligence. But do the user generated content truly belong to the users?
Using a common sense, when something belongs to me completely, that means I can move it around the way I want to, whenever I want to. In other words, a measurestick for a truly open UGC service is whether or not the service provider allows users to take their content somewhere else whenever they want to.
Is this the way it is around the industry? Heck no. The barrier of entry for any UGC service is very low - signup is like 2 clicks away. But the barrier of exit, on the other hand, is invariably very high. Does Myspace give you all your data in one neat package when you tell them you are done with the service and now want to get out? No.
Let's say you have used Myspace for 2 years. The only way you can take your 2 years worth of content out of Myspace would be to go over the grinding steps of copying and pasting your blog entries and saving all the pictures by right clicking on each of them and choosing "save the picture as..."
Apparently, service providers are thinking that the more content you have on their service, and the more difficult it is to take those content out, then chances are you will probably give up on any thought of moving out and just stick with the service. This "user retention through data lock-in" might be just what the service providers want. Why?
UGC services are making money, in the form of advertisement and others, off the user content - more users, more amount of UGC, more ad revenue. But as pointed out by people like Scott Karp all the time, no portion of that revenue goes back to the users. In this sense, users are being exploited by the UGC service providers.
It's my content, from my memories in my life - and yet I can't take my content out of the service provider easily, because my content is busy making money for the service provider. This is not good.
Why can't I see a service provider that lets me take my content in a neat package whenever I want to? All the blog entries in a nice MS word or HTML format, all images in JPEGs, and so on - all my content packaged into one single zip file, ready to be transported.
Then I would be able to back up this single zip file, the priceless record of my life accumulated over the last n years, in multiple locations -- on my PC, on my hosted account in the data center, etc.
You want to back up your life record in multiple places, because you never know what will happen. Earthquakes. Service providers going down. You name them.
Recently Netian.com, one of the second-tier internet portal sites of Korea (still with millions of users), shut down without much prior notice, and for days, users were not even sure whether or not they could get their data back. If this kind of thing happens, the last thing I want would be to see my own data sinking down the water along with the service provider.
Service providers are afraid that if the barrier of exit is low, everyone will pack their stuff and move out whenever there's a new, better service. But just because I know I can take my content away anytime doesn't necessarily mean I actually take my content away all the time.
In fact, knowing the service provider allows me to take my content away anytime will give me the similar sort of "peace of mind", as suggested by "the sleeping pills in the closet" effect.
And, just as I didn't actually take any of the sleeping pills, I think the chances of users actually taking their content away from a service provider are very slim -- given that the service provider always strives to be ahead of competition in terms of service quality and innovations.
If the service provider is a sucky one, people will go away no matter how difficult it is to move their data. High barrier of exit doesn't automatically translate into customer retention -- we see this all the time in the mobile service industry.
Mena Trott of Six Apart said blogs will evolve into a platform on whichpeople will archive and present 20 years worth of content. Let's face it: If I'm talking about 20 years worth of my content, I'll definitely want to make sure a) it doesn't go anywhere and b) I have a full control over it. Ensuring these would be a must-have, not a good-to-have feature to be provided by the UGC service providers.
I hope more UGC and Web 2.0 service providers will think along these lines.
Richard MacManus puts Korea on Web 2.0 mapWeb 2.0 | 2006/08/04 13:18 | Web 2.0 Asia
Read/write Web (aka R/WW) by Richard MacManus tracks Korean Web 2.0 industry - with this humble blog quoted on a number of occasions. Thanks for the coverage, Richard.
As we all know, all great business models are born by understanding and fulfilling fundamental human needs. And I guess Web 2.0 is no exception here. The defining characteristics of Web 2.0 can be roughly matched with Stephen Covey's four fundamental human needs:
- To live and love: Social networking
- To learn: Collective intelligence
- To leave legacies: User generated content (UGC)
Why do people buy a BMW? Because BMWs drive terrific, of course, but that's just part of the reason. The idea of a shining BMW parked on their driveway impressing the neighbors is often what gets them finally write the check.
Why do people produce and share content about themselves? Maybe not all the time, but quite often they do so because they want to show off. For example many people blog because they (consciously or sub-consciously) want the peer community to acknowledge their intellectual capabilities. Also, I observe that most popular Cyworld blog topics in Korea include hip restaurants, new clothes or gadgets, travel experience etc. -- things that can generally show the author's lifestyle and (in some cases) affluence.
If we presume that quite often people blog because they want to show off, then why don't we build a good web 2.0 service around that desire? Give people a way to express themselves in a super cool way, so they can talk about their souped-up cars, newly purchased Armani suits, a book they recently read, or even some intangible stuff like their unique experiences or skills (e.g. Japanese-English translation skills, the ins and outs of travelling in Prague, etc). We can call it "the show-off platform".
On top of this, we add social commerce module, so that other viewers can buy stuff (goods or content) from or through the author. So here I want to coin a new term: The Show-off Economy. I believe any Web 2.0 company that successfully implements this "show-off economy" will reap huge benefits.
A while ago, I took the younger sister of my girlfriend out for a lunch. Just to give you an idea, she's a 22 year old music major college student, who uses the internet but is just as far from the geekery as mars is far from venus.
When I asked her if she blogged, she asked what blogging was. But then when I said "you know, we'll increasingly find information about goods and services through other people's blogs and will likely buy stuff from or through them", she said that's what her friends were already doing, and pointed me to this site: http://www.r-uru.com/
The girl running the site is not a geek herself, she just displays her own picture in pretty clothes and--you know what--many girls check out this site and buy the clothes from her.
So my girlfriend's sister didn't know what blogging was, but her friends were already actively participating in social commerce.
The show-off economy built on content production, if done in the right way, will spread like wildfire especially amoung the young generation.
My day job (well, sometime I work till evenings and nights) is to plan and implement new internet (fixed + mobile) services for the buyers of our mobile phones.
I'm a web guy - I have always been in the internet business (strategy and service planning) ever since I started work (circa 1997). Naturally, I've been following the Web 2.0 since its early days. To this day, I rarely miss reading feeds on web 2.0 -- about 50 of them (I try to keep the max # of feeds at under 50).
Of course this kind of practice makes me smarter, but as a professional, you don't just study; You gotta contribute and deliver, based on what you learned. So how do I align my personal interest with my professional one to create maximum synergy? The answer would be to apply my knowledge on Web 2.0 to our services.
Then the question becomes, does a mobile phone manufacturer (ie. Nokias and Motorolas) have any shot at becoming a significant player in Web 2.0? I think so, for some reasons.
First, a very important ingredient of Web 2.0 is edge content production (aka user generated content), and mobile phones are increasingly well-suited for creating and sharing media content.
- First, the "edge" part: Everyone has a phone, and he carries the phone everywhere with him. Some people jokingly say that mobile phones are the first electronic device in human history that the majority of people carry with them when they go to men's room (or women's).
- Second, the "content" part: Mobile phones are not only great multimedia consumption devices (Nokia being #1 maker of digital camera and MP3 players), but also great multimedia producing devices. One example: mobile phones can be the best device to podcast on. You talk into the phone, as you do all the time, do some editing (like putting in background music), send it - and there you have your podcast, nice and easy.
Also, besides the content, moblie phones can leverage on other C's of internet business quite effectively as well:
- Communication: Phones are by nature communication devices. SMS, MMS, email, chat all supported.
- Community: The address book in your mobile phone = your buddy list
- Context: Phones can do smart tagging (geo / time stamp and other auto tagging)
- Commerce: While users expect whatever service on the fixed web will come free, they are less reluctant to pay for things on mobile. Also mobile services have well established billing methods in short codes, monthly phone bills, micropayments, etc.
In the past, they could exert their buying power to hold off innovations being created outside of their walled gardens. In the US, Sprint is rumored to have told Nokia to shut down their content service, otherwise no business with them. In Italy, the top carrier TIM doesn't allow its subscribers to purchase any content from 3rd parties directly from their phones.
But due to the (ongoing) convergence, mobile carriers will soon face fierce competiion from alternative connectivity methods such as WiMax. This means a) today's mobile carriers won't be the sole companies to sell devices to, and b) by market demands carriers will be forced to provide affordable, all-you-can-eat connectivity, and if they don't offer compelling services as well, they will turn into mere "bit pipes".
This will hopefully make the carriers more open-minded about innovative services from other parties, including phone manufacturers.
Ever since the phenomenal success of the iPod-iTunes, all manufacturers are waking up to the huge potential of the hardware-service coupling, done in the right way. Mobile phone manufacturers are not exceptions, and you will see more and more innovative services from Nokia and other manufacturers. Here I'll be posting my own initiatives sometimes as well.
Key products of Tatter and Company are Tattertools and Eolin (Pronounced "Yee-O-Lean"). Part 1 of this blog will cover Tattertools, while Eolin will be profiled in Part 2.
Eolin is not a front-end service, but is a backend data framework for distributing, syndicating, and monetizing UCC (user created content). Major features include sync to portals and search engines, anti-spam, media syndication and group blogging ("guilds"), commerce API to enable social commerce, etc.
Eolin is still pretty much in the cooking, but I've been introduced to its concept (which I am not allowed to disclose). Eolin is fantastic, but even without Eolin (that leaves only Tattertools blog tool), the Korean media is already endowing the coveted moniker of "Leading Web 2.0 company of Korea" (link in Korean) to this company.
Tattertools is an installed blog tool, comparable to Wordpress or Moveable Type. The company will also offer Tistory.com, a web-based hosted blogging service (like Typepad), starting from late May in partnership with Daum (a Korean web portal giant who also owns Lycos).
If you are an English speaking guy, you might say "What's up with the name?" The guys who initially named this blog tool apparently didn't know the English word "tatter" often carries negative connotation (as in "The poor boy was in tattered clothes") but anyhow the brand is now famous in Asian market. Besides, the word sounds the same as Korean phrase meaning "Big Ground (Plaza)".
So what's so special about Tattertools blog platform? Firstly, Tattertools provides ultimate freedom of customization. The "skin" (ie. the design of your blog's facade) is expressed as independent resource files, meaning you can copy/paste and edit your skin right on Dream Weaver. You can play with the looks of your blog at your will, without touching the functional aspects. As a result, there are many sites that do not look like blog sites at all but have in fact been built with Tattertools.
The dashboard (admin page) is dead easy to use and offers very efficient environment for entry composing and media file uploading (pictures, podcasts and videos, etc). You insert a media file clip, and the blog automatically generates flash viewer on your blog so the visitors can play back the media easily. Pinging blog entries to syndication site is one-click away (There's an AJAXy button on the dashboard.)
Another major advantage of Tattertools is its strong market presence in Asia. The tool is available in major Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) as well as in English. Tattertools blog has also seen its use in some major corporate sites such as Samsung Mobile and Ohmynews, suggesting its high scalability.
Tattertools offers mobile site as well: Adding "/m" at the end of any existing blog URL gives you a mobile blog page, with exactly the same content on the web, only optimized for mobile browser. Tattertools is an open source application (GPL). As of this writing, there are about 180 active members in development community and about 150 plug-ins.
Tatter and Company has 7 in-house engineers and is being headed up by Chester Roh, who was intelligent enough to not only make it to KAIST (nicknamed MIT of Korea), but also hack the server of a rival school (POSTECH). After spending short period of time behind the bars for this incident, Roh came of age and decided to use his talents for computer security (from hacker to security expert -- what a dramatic turn, sounding like "Catch Me If You Can" the movie). The security company he co-founded, Inzen, went public in 2002.
Tatter and Company has not taken any venture funding yet, and is now seeking an outside investment. Given that comparable US and Chinese companies have all succeeded in funding (Six Apart $12M for 3rd round; Automattic $1M 1st round; Blogchina $10M 2nd round; Toodou $8.5M 2nd round), I would expect Tatter and Company should be able to get some VC money if they can present their company right.
Is a blog company eligible for being a Web 2.0 venture? I believe so, the main reason being that blogs are the main tool for edge creation of content. As Mena Trott of Six Apart (which itself is largely undisputed as a Web 2.0 company) said in a recent interview, when it comes to the tool for caching 20 years of life records, nothing comes closer than blogs.
As I already said, Tatter and Company is a two-headed monster, with the second head being the Eolin. I can't wait to profile Eolin platform. But even only with Tattertools, this company is a winner and well worth a look for investors.
Web 2.0 being most frequently searched in Korean?Web 2.0 | 2006/05/11 14:02 | Web 2.0 Asia
(Click on the picture to enlarge)
But compared to Snapfish, Enbee.com provides a more holistic digital photo managing experience. For example, on Enbee, printing is less of an integral part of the service than it is on Snapfish.
First, user starts by transferring the raw files onto the online storage. The process can be aided by installing optional "EZ uploader" (an ActiveX control). Once uploaded, photos are automatically rearranged based on dates (extracted from EXIF data) or by user-defined categories. You can tag a specific date with keywords to make the later searching easier (e.g. "Excursion to Namsan").
Next, users hand-pick good pictures (digital cameras can produce many sloppy photos you know) and put them together into a Photo Clip. Photos on Enbee are managed by Phoco Clips, the way individual music files on iTunes are managed by Playlists.
Photo Clips dashboard
Pictures in Photo Clips can be viewed (changing the order or size of the pictures is done in a smooth, Ajaxy way), printed, published in various formats (book, postcard, or newspaper), and sent to blog. Enbee offers its own blog, and also an upload API to 3rd party blogs (the one for Tattertools is on its way).
Printing currently is Enbee's prime revenue source: A nice example of Freemium business model. (I told you they are already profitable.) Enbee has its own virtual currency called (fittingly) Honey, which helps promoting the service with free Honey coupons.
Enbee is actually owned by a publicly traded company (which is another reason why Enbee isn't just a quick startup, but is a pretty stable, longshot company) specializing in digital publishing. As such, Enbee's book/newspaper publishing service is pretty artsy and high-quality. Enbee should be able to further leverage on its parent company's digital publishing capabilities to provide a more all-rounded book publishing service like Blurb.
Web 2.0 Analysis
Despite being a well-thought, end-to-end photo management service, Enbee seems a little short on the Web 2.0-o-meter. Most notably missing feature is the Flickr-like folksonomy tagging. Also wanted is allowing direct upload of photos from a cameraphone.
But Enbee.com is a purely browser based service that doesn't require any download of program, which makes the service a Web 2.0 contender.
The CEO, Soo Man Park, is a well-known blogger (he blogs only in Korean) and he translated Dan Cederholm's Bulletproof Web. The first two characters of Park's name in Korean happens to sound the same as "Applause" : I think I can say just that for Enbee.com as well.