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Web 2.0 is dead. Long live Web 2.0

Web 2.0 as marketing hype may be dead, but its utility as a business strategy is just waking up.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay
2 min read

TechCrunch tells us Web 2.0, at least as a buzz word, is dead, with Google Trends data suggesting that 2008 saw the term drop consistently and then precipitously as a matter of search interest.

I'm sure this is right, but I'm just as sure that it doesn't matter.

Tim O'Reilly, who coined the term "Web 2.0," has a knack for spotting trends and then moving on once they become less interesting. For him, that usually means once the rest of us have caught on and once the technology or trend in question is in monetization mode.

O'Reilly was also on the forefront of spotting and nurturing the open-source movement. When it went mainstream (boy, has it gone mainstream) and became something to harvest financially rather than to define and structure intellectually, O'Reilly started looking for the next big trend--one that, intriguingly, learned much from the principles of open source.

That "something" was Web 2.0.

For several years, O'Reilly was the prophet of the Web 2.0 revolution. But now that Web 2.0 has to figure out how to pay for itself, not simply change the way we interact online, I suspect O'Reilly is moving on to other things like green energy.

This, perhaps more than anything else, will signal that it's time for Wall Street and the money changers to delve into Web 2.0 in earnest. If O'Reilly moves on to tackle another big trend, it means he, at least, believes enough definition has been laid for Web 2.0 to serve as signposts to financial profiteering from it.

The real money in open source is being made now, years after it started to significantly disrupt the cozy software ecosystem. In similar ways, now that interest in Web 2.0 is dying down as a marketing buzzword, interest in its principles as a corporate revenue-generation strategy will most assuredly rise.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.