It's Starting to Sound Like 1999 Again ...
... and it's not just the sounds of Ace of Base wafting from the cube of our online editor. In recent weeks, we've heard CMP describe a new Web site as "investigating the future of the Internet." Nielsen Business Media debuted an online resource center for small businesses that it claims "is like no other"-except it is kind of similar to a site attempted by Hammock Publishing several years ago, notes our own Dylan Stableford.
More and more, we're starting to hear the big proclamations that accompanied the early moves of Web 1.0. Part of it is the confidence publishers have gained as they learn from their online experiments and their mistakes. Part of it is that we also seem to be on the verge of a major shift, in which the business is prepared to start doing things different. After declaring unequivocally at the recent Folio: Show that it's social media, not video that we will all be talking about at this time next year, Fortune executive editor Josh Quittner followed up by saying "What's going on now is very similar to what we saw when Netscape came on the scene and the Web was being built out. We're at another one of those fundamental shifts."
What we can't afford is the blind optimism that helped doom Web 1.0. And fortunately, it appears as though most publishers realize that. The key for CMP's Internet Evolution for the site's architect Stephen Saunders is balancing what continues to work with a traditional journalistic format with Web 2.0. "I don't believe in pendulum publishing, where on one hand you say, âWe're a business-to-business publisher and everything has to be written by us' and then Web 2.0 comes along and now everyone goes in the other direction so they're not going to publish anything, the users will publish all the content," he says. "That's reminiscent of what happened in the 1990s."
And we all know what happened after that.
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