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...user-generated content sites, platforms for photo sharing, video sharing and blogging, comprised five out of the top 10 fastest growing Web brands in July 2006.
Image hosting site ImageShack ranked No. 4 among July’s fastest growing Web brands, increasing 233 percent, from a unique audience of 2.3 million to 7.7 million (see Table 1). Heavy.com, a video sharing site, took the No. 5 spot, increasing 213 percent, from 965,000 to 3.0 million unique visitors. Photo sharing site Flickr followed at No. 6, growing 201 percent from 2.1 million to 6.3 million unique visitors. Other user-generated content sites that made it into the top 10 fastest growing Web brands were MySpace, with a 183 percent year-over-year increase, and Wikipedia, with a 181 percent year-over-year increase.
Detailed pdf report:-
Fastest growing online brands in UK - 2006
4. American Express
Note the lack of MP3/Music download sites in the top 10?
Unique content is what lots of people (and hence search engines) like.
To get unique content you can either:
1. Employ lots of people to write stuff, costing you a small fortune.
2. Encourage users to prvoide you with that information, entirely for free (forums, review etc).
While its always been a hard choice ;) I usually go with option 2.
What's interesting for me personally though is the gradual swtich from people using the net to find information/buy things, to using it as a tool to communicate with each other, share things, and keep track of their friends.
With regard to the MP3, the list is only about the fastest growing brands - perhaps iTunes is very popular but has slowed in terms of "fastest growing". The list also doesn't take into account file sharing software.
[edited by: TravelSite at 11:27 am (utc) on Sep. 15, 2006]
I would submit that 99.9999999% of the membership of the hot CGC/UGC websites don't own the community. Members may "belong". They may be attached. They may connect their existence to the fact that they post. They may exploit the benefits of the "free" (ad driven) service.
That's not ownership. That's a mob.
"Hey look! Over there! Wow, look at that! Cool!"
A failure to contemplate community ownership is likely why they will fail.
[edited by: Webwork at 12:13 pm (utc) on Sep. 15, 2006]
1. Employ lots of people to write stuff, costing you a small fortune.
2. Encourage users to prvoide you with that information, entirely for free (forums, review etc). "
I think what is important to the surfer/user is the opportunity to communicate and bond. They are not necessarily looking to generate free content for others to exploit.
These kind of sites may generate huge interest and traffic but do they generate money?
more are coming
Web 2.0 is being FUNDED by the VCs
think internet 1999 . . .
BUT they learned great lessons so there is less waste and loss.
They will fund the R&D and when it doesn't grow revenue OR ebay, msoft, google, or yahoo buy them :) they look to roll them up to partner them OR sell them
this was really interesting:
Kiko (venture funded) was sold on EBAY (that is right EBAY) -
Start Ebay noted:
From Ebay listing:
Winning bid: US $258,100.00
Ended: Aug-26-06 10:18:08 PDT
Continued from the Ebay listing:
"Kiko currently has no advertising revenue, but it has a pagerank of 7. Since this auction was launched, we've had quite a few requests by individuals wanting to purchase licenses for the Kiko software. While we don't want to pursue this ourselves, this might be a good way for a buyer of Kiko to turn around and quickly make his or her money back."
. . .
"Kiko traffic has been steady at around 40k visitors / month."
End Ebay note:
I work in private equity so I see how this is heating up behind the scenes and how MANY deals are flying around . . .
3. MySpace "
-Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, contends the wildly popular Web sites YouTube and MySpace are violating copyright laws by allowing users to post music videos and other content involving Universal artists.
"We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars,"Universal Music CEO Doug Morris told investors Wednesday at a conference in Pasadena."How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly." -
Q: WHERE IS THE MONEY?
Ans:The Lawyers will have it soon.
When I want to talk about search, AdSense, etc., I come to Webmaster World. When I want to talk about travel writing, I go to a couple of community sites for travel writers. But when I want to check the day's news, I go to Google News, NYTimes.com, Washingtonpost.com, or Guardian.co.uk. And if I want to buy travel accessories, I'll go to an e-commerce site. The fact that Webmaster World might be growing faster than NYTimes.com or my favorite e-commerce site for travel accessories doesn't mean NYTimes.com or the e-commerce site are losing out to Webmaster World, or that my writing or reading of "user-generated content" at WW makes me less likely to visit news and e-commerce sites.
They're all making them rich and don't get a penny for a site that they, the end user, has built.
Lol... DotBomb 2007 coming up... he he
I just don't think it's going to replace everything else
Don't underestimate a vertical than can go horizantal
People like you EFV have identified where to go for each service a long time ago, but there are millions joining the web community everyday, and new loyalties and attachments are forged every second.
The key is in the traffic critical mass, which you can divert later on to new verticals, no matter what the original site does.
e.g. AOL, an ISP, and it's content network
Google, a search engine, and it's eCommerce checkout and Google News..
Yahoo, a search engine, doing everything else
What's to prevent MySpace from pulling another eBay
If you have the brand and traffic, the horizantal possibilities are limitless, even very narrow verticals like WebMasterWorld, old geezers like us might stick to their guns, new fresh members are more open to possibilities.
One problem with user-created content is that it's unwieldy. Planning a trip to London with TripAdvisor or VirtualTourist or IGoUgo, for example, is a lot harder than planning a trip to London with TimeOut.com or Fodors.com or Frommers.com.
Another problem is the lack of a consistent voice or "trust factor." Webmaster World is a perfect example of that problem: There's a lot of good information in these forum threads, but there's also a lot of misinformation, and there's a lot of opinion presented as fact. Someone who's setting up a Web site probably wouldn't want to start by reading 100,000 forum messages at Webmaster World; he'd want to start by reading a manual or Web tutorial and use WW's forums for additional information and insights after he knows enough to read critically and to find what he's looking for.
BTW, I think AOL is a good example of how the Web has reduced the power of the "network effect." The fact that you could find all kinds of forums, information providers, etc. under one roof mattered in the days of proprietary online services, but today, that's no longer true. Remember how we were being told, back in the late 1990s, that portals were going to control the Web? (Try telling that now to the folks who owned the @Home network, which paid $7.2 billion for Excite in 1999 and went into Chapter 11 two years later.)
There's a place for user-created content--just as there's still a place for portals--but UCC isn't the solution for every user's every need. It's just one tool in the toolbox.
I would venture a guess that only a minority of the people who write these reviews feel like they are part of a community, and the vast majority of Amazon's users probably don't feel like they are part of a community -- although they may exhibit some degree of brand loyalty, like habitual users of particular detergents.
I'd like to see more discussion of how the concept of an online "community" is distinct from that of "user created content" and what it means to have "ownership" of such a community.
I'm not sure where sites like tripadvisor fit into the overall spectrum of possibilities, but this site category strikes me as being very different from traditional forums like WebmasterWorld, which come much closer to resembling a true "community," and which are much harder to monetize.
As well, it would be interesting to see more discussion of how user created content can be combined in interesting ways with other, more traditional site formats (e.g. authoritative information-providing sites like Fodors or the NYT).
My intuition is that some of the fast growing sites mentioned in the initial post are benefiting from (exploiting) certain fundamental attributes or features of the web -- features which are not as widely adopted today as they will ultimately be. And that these attributes or features (all related to two way communication) will soon be more widely adopted by many other sites.
[edited by: Beagle at 1:52 pm (utc) on Sep. 18, 2006]