Putting COMmunity into dot coms
.community is the .key ? You can bet your I.T. department on it.
Perhaps a critical distinction between Web 1.0 and 2.0 is the degree to which 2.0 has (finally) embraced as essential *community* and *participation* as cornerstones of a quality relationship between technology and the people served by technology.
The process has a long way to go, but it's very encouraging to see the *big* players working hard to seduce the *key* players in the online equation - the users.
I'm not a Microsoft basher, especially since the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has heroically challenged the idea that the rich ignore the poor. However it's also true that Microsoft has been by far one of the worst culprits when it comes to ignoring the community in favor of the needs of corporate dominance.
For years MSN kept the broad user community at bay - we were chained to MS out of necessity and not loyalty.
A few years ago this all changed and MS dominance is quickly slipping away. The open source movement has grown in strength, Microsoft's adoption of the internet as the central theme of all things computerized remains sluggish, and Google and Yahoo continue to innovate and provide free and excellent programs to users and developers.
Of the big three in search Yahoo seems to be understanding this community factor the best. Yahoo Answers, Yahoo 360, Yahoo Maps, Aquiring Del.ico.us are all in line with the focus on people more than technology. Google, as the newest, hippest, and coolest kid on the block, gets a LOT of mileage from these factors despite the fact users are serving them even more than they serve the users who have made Google what they are today.
As the big three's search quality converges the advertising revenues will be distributed more evenly across the search landscape. Yet advertising money will also increase dramatically as slow adopters figure out the overwhelming power of online advertising. Everybody can win in this scenario, but the one who wins the most should be the one who best serves the online community.