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Beware of Web 2.0
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By Carl Weinschenk

An interesting report released earlier this month by AMI Partners discusses small businesses and Web 2.0. The study shows that a healthy amount of SMBs are using Web 2.0. Many of these users may not even know they are doing so, however, due to the obscure definition of this emerging platform.

Small business—outside of those who happen to be experts in Internet matters—should be wary of Web 2.0 claims. This emerging vision of the Internet, which features tools that enable a high level of interactivity and collaboration, has made a lot of news in techie circles. The interactivity could involve interactivity or the use of more than platform—say, text and embedded video—to create a presentation of some sort.

Beyond that, technologists argue over the precise definition of Web 2.0. That certainly is important to small business owners because it tends to unleash vendors' marketing people to make extravagant claims. If nobody knows exactly what Web 2.0 is, nobody can say exactly what it isn't. This is just the kind of confusion that marketing folks like.

The vast majority of SMBs are advised to forget labels. Discount vendor claims that a new application is the latest and greatest Web 2.0 service. Instead, ask the bedrock questions that must be asked of any new service or application: How can it help my business? How much does it cost? What security vulnerabilities or other downsides are possible? Web 2.0 or not, these are questions that must be answered.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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