TAN­GLED WEB

Finweek English Edition - - Cover -

YOUTUBE AND MYS­PACE (bought by Ru­pert Mur­doch’s News Corp for $580m in 2005, and af­ter the YouTube deal prob­a­bly worth at least three times that) are lead­ers of what’s been dubbed Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a col­lec­tive term for ser­vices avail­able on the Web that al­low peo­ple to col­lab­o­rate and share in­for­ma­tion, form­ing vast on­line com­mu­ni­ties. YouTu­bers watch more than 100m clips a day while so­cial net­work­ing site MyS­pace can count 60m users. Web 2.0 is interactive, fea­ture rich and im­por­tantly user­gen­er­ated com­pared to the “old” Web, which was static and mainly cen­tred on search­ing and surf­ing from one site to the other.

While at its most ba­sic YouTube al­lows peo­ple to up- and down­load their own videos, it forms an in­flu­en­tial on­line com­mu­nity (with its own celebri­ties such as Lone­ly­girl15 and Geri­atric1927) that has seen the com­pany sign con­tent dis­tri­bu­tion and mar­ket­ing deals with Uni­ver­sal Mu­sic, Sony, Fox, television net­work CBS and the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion. Other me­dia own­ers are threat­en­ing to sue and are forc­ing YouTube to re­move copy­righted ma­te­rial, but the agree­ment signed be­tween the BBC and YouTube last week prob­a­bly points to the fu­ture. The Bri­tish broad­caster first had YouTube take down the thou­sands of clips from its pop­u­lar Top Gear pro­gramme, be­fore sign­ing a deal for three chan­nels to be hosted on YouTube.

Apart from YouTube pre­tenders like Me­ta­café, Web 2.0 also en­com­passes wikis (Wikipedia is an on­line en­cy­clopae­dia up­dated by users), blogs (on­line jour­nals – one is cre­ated ev­ery 10 sec­onds), photo shar­ing sites such as Flickr and Pho­to­bucket, so­cial net­work­ing sites led by MyS­pace and hun­dreds of oth­ers, in­clud­ing Face­book (aimed at stu­dents), Orkut (op­er­ated by Google), Hi5, del.ico.us (where users can chat and share their favourite book­marks) and LinkedIn, a net­work­ing site for busi­ness pro­fes­sion­als..

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