Web 2.0 or not Web 2.0. That is the question.

I participated in three interesting debates over the past 7 days about Web 2.0 – what it is and is it a good thing. The start of the argument is usually ‘it’s the dotcom era all over again’ as if this, by its very nature, is a damnable offense.

Here’s my take on Web 2.0. It comes down to two very simple concepts; 1) User generated content, and 2) User modifiable interface and experience (mashups). In the Web 1.0 world much of the content was mined or served by the web companies – Amazon gave you books and inventory to buy from, Google served you content that they had found, eBay gave you items to sell or buy, but in a format that was specifically developed (and rigidly structured) by them.

In the Web 2.0 world the great content comes from the users themselves and are shared among the community using tools such as Wikipedia, LinkedIn, and Flickr. The user experience is also enhanced by the ability for users to link in tools and HTML from other sites. Myspace is a great example of this since they provide the ability to integrate audio, video, pictures, and other content. This ‘mashup’ experience is a key part of Web 2.0.

At iTaggit we are providing users the ability to post content from their collections into other sites as well. A user can post an individual item, collection, or their profile into any site that accepts HTML code. This means that you can embed your item info in eBay, put a link to your music collection on myspace, or include your full profile in the signature line of your email.

Here’s what the profile looks like when you add a signature line: www.itaggit.com/user/daltounian

As to whether ‘dotcom’ is a four letter word, remember that eBay, Amazon, Google all came out of the dotcom era. Web 2.0 companies that add value to users lives will succeed. Web 2.0 companies that are just plain ‘experiences’ will be challenged.

At least that’s my take.