The Web Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Continuing to Evolve

Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, author of the book “The Long Tail,” has written a provocative piece for the magazine about how the “web is dead.” But while the rise of task-specific apps is a reality, the web is far from dead — it is evolving.

News Corp. and the Great Not-Free Experiment

374716426_b3808965cf_mRupert Murdoch is picking up his toys from the playground and going home, and kicking sand at the “free” model touted by Wired’s Chris Anderson on the way out. The News Corp. (s nws) chairman has announced that, due to poor advertising revenue on the company’s numerous news properties, the company will begin charging for all online news content within a year. News Corp. lost $3.4 billion in the just-ended fiscal year, after a massive $8.9 billion in one-time charges.
The pay-wall strategy, which is still lacking many, many details, has more than a little bit of David Farragut’s “damn the torpedoes” mentality to it, but Murdoch noted that if his plan is successful, “we’ll be followed by all media.” Could this be the beginning of the end for free news on the Internet? Read More about News Corp. and the Great Not-Free Experiment

Maybe “Paid” Is the Future of Online Business

[qi:110] In 1988, “Saturday Night Live” aired a parody commercial deriding clumsy business models. “At First CityWide Change Bank, our business is making change,” said actor Jim Downey, portraying a naive “service representative.” After listing various ways in which his company could break a five, he explained how money is made. “The answer is simple: volume.”

More than 20 years later, I wonder if some digital entrepreneurs think the same. “Simple: we’ll make money on volume of traffic, at some future date,” they promise, even if the math doesn’t add up right now. Despite a knee-deep recession, the idea of giving away something for free and charging for something else later is bigger than ever. But is “free” selling? Read More about Maybe “Paid” Is the Future of Online Business

Beta Is Dead

Beta, as it pertains to web sites, has seen better days. Not long ago, saying the word as part of your web development cycle could help land venture capital even faster than claiming “community,” “paradigm shift” or “disruptive technology.” Now, the term is dissipated and confusing.

While the specific origin of its use is unknown, beta as a tagline was popularized by a Google (s goog) with the release of Google News in 2002, and later, Gmail in 2004. From there, startups quickly followed suit. By 2006, it seemed like every new web site was “in beta.”

When confronted about the phenomenon, Google co-founder Larry Page told investors, “It’s really a messaging and branding thing. If it’s on [Google News and Gmail] for five years, that’s fine.” Google News unceremoniously left beta a year later. Gmail, which is more reliable than most non-beta software, has yet to do so. Read More about Beta Is Dead