Urgent Need for Adapting to Web 2.0, Concludes Study

Many in the business community—including those in IT—relegate Web 2.0’s clout to the under-20 set. A new study concludes that attitude is a mistake. The Web 2.0 model of consumer interaction and participation is a mass phenomenon, concludes the Booz Allen Hamilton study of 2,400 consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Companies that don’t adapt their business models to the lessons of YouTube, Flickr and MySpace are in trouble, the study says.

Key findings include:

  • Web 2.0 relevance cuts across gender and age. Forty-one percent of U.S. MySpace users are older than 35. That number was 35 percent for the United Kingdom and 29 percent for Germany.

  • Web 2.0 users have few privacy concerns. Sixty-four percent of U.S. messages are freely available to the public. U.K. respondents reported that number as 61 percent, while Germany reported 73 percent.

  • Web 2.0 capitalizes on ubiquitous connectivity. Approximately one-quarter of surveyed MySpace users are accessing MySpace from a laptop, a school or office computer, an Internet-enabled cafe or a BlackBerry.

  • Web 2.0 communities influence opinions and purchasing decisions. Thirty-nine percent of surveyed MySpace users receive product picks from virtual peers.

The study determines that the Internet is establishing itself more strongly in consumers’ lives. In particular, Web 2.0-influenced trends will affect how businesses get and keep customers. The study lists Web 2.0 opportunities that include shorter innovation cycles using customer integration, cross-media selling, customer service sites with end-user created content and wide participation, and using Web 2.0 as a brand channel.

Web 2.0 is already at critical mass, the study concludes. Businesses who don’t respond are placing themselves at risk.

-Diann Daniel

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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