Web 2.0: Time to Cash & Carry

The Web 2.0 consolidation has begun. Long after Google bought Blogger, we have seen two deals in quick succession – Live Journal being snapped up by Six Apart, and now Bloglines has been bought by Ask Jeeves. I think we are going to see a rapid consolidation in next three-to-six months. And those companies which don’t get sold, well they will be in trouble. The reason is pretty simple – we are going from early adopter to mass market, and this means more dollars to build out infrastructure to support more people. Technorati and SixApart took dollars and a lot of that money has been spent beefing up the infrastructure. (It shows!)

As more come-blogging, you are going to see systems put under more stress. In other words, many of these companies are better off working inside a large corporation with deep pockets. The entrepreneurs should be rewarded for their clever ideas, and by selling out now, they can cash-and-carry. If they don’t and do-it-alone, which will result in raising more money from venture capitalists, who would be too happy to oblige. Like shylock, they would take their pound of flesh, and well eventually if there is an exit, the founders are going to be left with scraps, not steaks.

Why do I say that? Well first of all, blogging as a whole is a mega trend, but its sub-divisions are not. Many of the variants of these different sub-sections are trying to differentiate themselves via features, but as some of us know from Web 1.0, features don’t make a free standing business. In my three years blogging, the fidelity of early adopters ranks right next to Brad Pitt. Even if we find one breakout candidate that can grow big really fast, it would tough for them to go public.

* Bill Burnham on coming Blog/RSS consolidation.
* Staci Kramer on Bloglines Sale: The problem with that for me is that I think of Bloglines’ search as its weakest link. If joining Ask means a vast improvement in that direction, then Bloglines becomes a more valuable service. Selling is a great way to get around the problem of a viable business model. Mark Fletcher was on the verge of phasing in a version of adwords, which may turn out to be a good way to make money from Bloglines … but selling should have a much faster return.