Pattern eight: Lightweight models & cost effective scalability

Web 2.0 in this pattern

Web 2.0 application do not just mean the technology improvement and changes, it also means the software model and strategy reform. Traditional famous software development companies like Microsoft and Apple, they get thousand of staff work for them, meanwhile they may suffer higher cost for product production. Web 2.0 compaies like Facebook and Twitter; they have lower cost and lightweight model and effective scalability. As O’Reilly(2005) mentioned, “While high value B2B connections (like those between Amazon and retail partners like ToysRUs) use the SOAP stack, Amazon reports that 95% of the usage is of the lightweight REST service.” The benefits of this web 2.0 model are faster development, low risk and cost and good ROI.  To fulfill this goal:

  •  Scale with demand

Firms must have a clear vision to the demand of customer and themselves to decide scale of firm and software.

  •  Syndicate models

Web 2.0 application allow customer to plug in software into individual website and share the data by XML or using SOAP. This would be a key point for success model.

  • Outsource

Outsource is suitable for Web 2.0 application and firms, because they may not expert in all area of software from first line to data center. So Outsource is the best choice for keeping product quality and low cost, especially in globalized firm.

  • Revenue models

Every firm is aimed to gain revenue. There are some typical revenue models: Sponsorship advertising, subscriptions, transaction commissions, premium services and product licensing.

Some cons of the pattern

Exponential growth: Some successful web 2.0 firm may experience a exponential growth. Therefore, it is a big challenge for unprepared firm.

  • Low barriers to entry: low barriers to entry are the trap for some unprepared or inexperienced Web 2.0 application firm.
  • Advertising dependence: advertising should not be the only revenue model for lightweight model and small web 2.0 application.

Evaluating Web 2.0 application

Groupon (www.groupon.com) is a group shopping services website, which provide a new shopping business model with customer and supplier and totally different from traditional heavyweight B2C website. As Cohen(2009) motioned,  “The company offers one “Groupon” per day in each of the markets it serves. The Groupon works as an assurance contract using The Point’s platform: if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all” Customers do not need to search product anymore and just one product here every day for a unbelievable prices waiting to buy. Scale is very clear as well as the page. Meanwhile Groupon could embed into any devices and JavaScript page to share their product information. The team on-line is just for the software part and for the supplier negotiation part, they could outsource this business to some more professional sell company or agent.  Groupon’s revenues are mainly from the transaction commission and advertisement fee from supplier and customer. Groupon has a clear business model and lightweight application model with good scalability, comparing with other B2C web like EBay, EBay has a more complex business model as real-world shop to sell and buy goods, for Group on, simple business model could reduce risk and keep revenue consistently. In the future, Groupon could extend their business model and use data exchange with Facebook or Twitter to post goods.

 

Right now the group on has involved the SoLoMo concept based on their previous business relationship, it is real good to transfer from the each day deal to SoLoMo, good scalability

O’Reilly, T. 2005. What is web 2.0 http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=4

Cohen, D. 2009. “Virtual “tipping point” leverages group deals”. Reuters.

Advertisements

Pattern seven: Leveraging the long tail

Web 2.0 in this pattern

“The term Long Tail has gained popularity in recent times as describing the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items with relatively small quantities sold of each – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities. The Long Tail was popularized by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine article, in which he mentioned Amazon.com,  Apple and  Netflix as examples of businesses applying this strategy.” Mentioned by Quinion(2005) and Anderson(2004). Traditional business focuses just on big and popular domain, big client and highest revenue area. In today’s Web 2.0 application, this situation is totally changed. Because low cost and fast speed business model could be done by this platform, accumulation of small client and narrow niches could make huge profile and income to our company. This is called long tail phenomena. The main reason that could support long tail is the infinite shelf on Web 2.0, focusing on small market and low cost for goods distribution and advertisement. Benefits of this point would be seizing new small market, more browser and more choices for customer. To do this:

  • Forces of the long tail

Web 2.0 firm needs to make a strong long tail though production, distribution and demand.

  • Data management

Data management is an important part of long tail, because focusing on small customer and unique requirement, data would be larger and more complex than some big customers. Meanwhile a great amount of demand from small customers or suppliers needs to be researched on data domain.

  • Customer management

Because long tail includes a large number of customers that have different background and demand, so an effective architecture to manage customer and filter illegal and inappropriate contents is necessary. Firms could check content, customer classification to detect risks.

  • Leverage on-line product and inventory cost

Long tail web 2.0 application need to pay more attention to do aggregation and integration of online product and keep the lowest inventory cost. (Inventory cost refers to sleeping product in this net)

 Some cons of the pattern

  • Wrong long tail: long tail need low cost of production and distribution, otherwise it is hard to succeed.
  • Smaller tail: Do not ignore smaller tail, it could reinforce the value in the right way.

 Evaluating Web 2.0 application

Taobao(www.taobao.com) is the largest B2C web 2.0 website in china. This website is totally a long tail product. Alibaba is a world largest B2B company, which has realized that  the small market of long tail could give them great amount of revenue. So they built Taobao , which includes thousands of Chinese even world small suppliers or trade firms to post their product and to do negotiation. Taobao has strong data management system and customer management system. Meanwhile product is managed by many shops. Sellers could gain reputation through good service and product feedback. Illegal and pretended information will be deleted before or after customer complaint. Comparing with other B2C website, Taobao focus more on location customers’ service and smaller sellers, that is the reason why it could defeated Ebay in China, as Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma memorably said: “eBay may be a shark in the ocean, but I am a crocodile in the Yangtze River. If we fight in the ocean, we lose—but if we fight in the river, we win.”.(How Taobao beats eBay in China. 2010)  In the future, Taobao should extend their traditional B2C model to a more flexible model, for example group shopping or government procurement.

Quinion, M. 2005. “Turns of Phrase: Long Tail”. World Wide Words.

Anderson, C. 2004. “The Long Tail” Wired.

How Taobao beats eBay in China. 2010

http://www.thomascrampton.com/china/taobao-china-ecommerce/

Pattern six: Perpetual Beta

Web 2.0 in this pattern

Beta is used as a name in the software industry, representing the second stage software test by public users or limited amount of users. As Wikipedia mentioned,” Beta testing comes after alpha testing and can be considered a form of external user acceptance testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Sometimes, beta versions are made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users.” With the transformation of traditional software role to a “software as a service”, software public test process method also has changed to a ongoing even perpetual process. Today’s Web 2.0 application does not just software but a service online.As O’Reilly(2005) said,” So fundamental is the shift from software as artifact to software as service that the software will cease to perform unless it is maintained on a daily basis.” For the desktop software as office, it may need long period to develop and long time closed test process, then it could be release as a preview or Beta version to public to verify its feature and if it has bug or not. But for the application online, users could give feedback and suggestion anytime and anywhere to improve and refine the software. Perpetual Beta will bring benefits to firm, because faster reflection, low risk and customer-oriented.  Some good method to do this:

  • Often update

If software do not update for a long time, nobody will use it any more. So for online services, which are a more interactive type of software, needs more frequent update and bug fix to ensure stability.

  • User’s participation for test

It is necessary to encourage use and provide method for use to let them become co-developer or testers. Because users is on the first line of application and know what they want and defect of services best.

  •  New products

Web 2.0 application need to new product rather than just fix bug and add some small feature. Because the innovation for Web 2.0, it requires firm to generate new product ideas and t evolve them.

  • Using dynamic tools and language

Because of perpetual Beta, so the dynamic and easy-reform tools or language is necessary for Web 2.0 application, for example PHP,Ruby or some script languages are very useful and dynamic to change and deploy.

Some cons of the pattern

  • Feature quality: Perpetual Beta do not means perpetual uncompleted. It is necessary to provide a high quality feature to user rather than a bug version.
  • Privacy : Perpetual Beta need to keep privacy with user and good management of tester.

Evaluating Web 2.0 application

Discuz!(http://www.discuz.net/) is the world largest Chinese language forum platform company,start as 2002.  It has been used by thousands of small and middle forums for many years. It is used to be a traditional BBS web system , but after no more than 5 years ,it has been upgraded to a comprehensive  online forum plantform from initial 1.0 to today X2.5. Discuz! update version every two month and build a feedback platform to gather customer opinion after test with thousands of user. Discuz! is developed using PHP language and the new product have involved community concept for user test and feedback. Discusz! is a smaller firm than Mircorsoft or Apple ,so it could allow public user to do some core test or advices. But for big software company, they have business consideration or terms to prevent this. In the future, Discuz! might upgrade their business model and data exchange with Facebook or other social network.

Reference:

Wikipedia Software testing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_testing#Beta_testing

O’Reilly, T. 2005. What is web 2.0 http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=4

Pattern five: Software above the level of a single device

Web 2.0 in this pattern

With the mobile device technology and software technology development, PC is no longer the single device to access internet applications. Saas is also the trend to do softare as Wikipedia mentioned,” Software as a service (SaaS, typically pronounced [sæs]), sometimes referred to as “on-demand software,” is a software delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally (typically in the (Internetcloud) and are typically accessed by users using a thin client, normally using a web browser over the Internet.” In Web 2.0 application environment, people allow to using diversity platform to post information, watching video, talking with friends and so on. Therefore, the software needs to meet new ubiquitous computing situation. The benefit of this pattern is allowing people to access Web 2.0 anywhere and anytime. To achieve this goal:

  • Design sharing data across diversity platform

Web 2.0 application is aim to help user to do more interaction with peer, so the different platform support is essential for Web 2.0. Today, more and more apps are support at Mobile devices like Twitter and Facebook.

  •  Extend Web 2.0 to devices

Online web service needs to extend to devices and other platform to improve the practices of web 2.0.For example people use same function in iPhone as in browser of Google maps and context-awareness service.

  •  Leverage devices as data and rich media sources

Diversity devices need to represent a rich media and data source to support client’s mobile usage, for example email service.

  •  Enable data location independence

Users wish to keep data into different devices and data synchronization and consistency.

Some cons of the pattern

  • Compatibility:  Share with different hard ware platform needs higher compatibility.
  • Legal issue: Some illegal behavior will appear in this situation.

Evaluating Web 2.0 application

Appstore(www.itunes.com ) is the world famous mobile apps website or library that allow user to access and buy anytime and anywhere by using most of devices that could link to internet, it is not a typical web 2.0 website but definitly ,it is a web 2.0 applicatoin. Appstore has developed iPhone ,iPad and Mac PC platform client applications to support this. User could use different platform to search apps and give comments and rate. It is from the idea to extend Web 2.0 to devices. Meanwhile Appstore client application could leverage devices as data and rich apps sources, in another world, you have a mobile software shop in your hand or browser.  Appstore has the ituns to prevent downloading illegally and data synchronization issue could be solving towards this application.  Comparing with other Web 2.0 application, Appstore is not software but a business model for Apple. As Hinchciffe(2010) said about app store model, “(1) Distribution and delivery controlled by the platform owner,(2) A self-contained application directory and store.(3) Centralized payment processing.(4) An application community to drive feedback and quality.” In the future, Appstore might upgrade their client software with Web 2.0 application.

References:

Wikipeida Software as a service  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_as_a_service

Hinchcliffe, D. 2010. The app store: The new “must-have” digital business model

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hinchcliffe/the-app-store-the-new-must-have-digital-business-model/1172

Pattern Four: Rich User Experiences

Web 2.0 in this pattern

Applications including desktop and web application’s user experiences would be a very important point of software. Web 2.0 applications needs more deign for rich user experiences than desktop interface, because web applications are used more on interaction and communication area rather than desktop software that used more on individual application. In the other hand, with the software technology development, rich user experience in Web 2.0 could catch up, even surpass desktop application. For example, using AJAX or HTML5 or Flash techniques, traditional office work could be transferred into online application. About HTML5, as Wikipdia mentioned, “HTML5 adds many new syntactical features. These include the  new <video>, <audio> and <canvas> elements, as well as the integration of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) content that replaces the uses of generic <object> tags. These features are designed to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins and APIs.” Thought rich user experience, website will be upgraded to a new level with user satisfaction.  How to do it:

  • Combine desktop and online experiences

Desktop application experiences are a good reference towards Web 2.0 application, including fast speed, high interactivity and big computer power. Meanwhile online experiences are better on collaboration and communication area.

  • Simple first and meet usage requirement

Rich user experiences do not mean very complex user interface and very powerful integrated system.  User requirement needs to be matched on a basic level.For example ,Google docs could do office work with simple features.

  •  Search over structure ,content address ability, personalization

Web 2.0 user experience pays more attention to search technique, content addressability and application personalization.

Some cons of the pattern

  • Compatibility: Rich user experiences have higher requirement for multi-platform support.
  • Lack of standards: Each company or funds have their own tech-standard.
  • Network dependence: Rich user experiences have higher network dependence.

Evaluating Web 2.0 application

Youtube(www.youtube.com) is the world largest video clip share website. Besides the “collective intelligence” and “data inside” as other famous Web 2.0 website, on 2008 ,Youtube still used old techniques ,as Rayburn(2008) said,” YouTube streaming”, YouTube is not streaming. All YouTube content is delivered progressive download, via HTTP, and is not being delivered from a Flash Media Server [FMS]. Delivering and scaling video via HTTP is much easier and cheaper than using a streaming media server and streaming protocol. “ .But now Youtube’s new user interface and video play features are perfect with HTML5.  Youtube interface combine the fast speed and high interactivity video streaming features of desktop application and mobile devices, meanwhile it is very simple to meet the users requirement to search video, watch video, comment video, doing subscription, get video recommendation and share to other web pages. Youtubes also allow register user to do multi-dimension video searching, personalization of own channel. Meanwhile Youtube kept the same style and performance in different web browser platform like IE or Chorme. Comparing with other video website, Youtube’s application is designed more direct and easy to use. In the future, Youtube would extend their video application with social network and mobile devices platform.

References:

Wikipeida HTML5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

Rayburn,D.  2008.  Why Is the YouTube User Experience So Poor?

http://seekingalpha.com/article/104075-why-is-the-youtube-user-experience-so-poor

Pattern Three: Innovation in Assembly

Web 2.0 in this pattern

Traditional and closed source software platforms have dominated the PC desktop application for nearly 20 years by Microsoft from operating system to office. With the open source development, more and more Web 2.0 application and API could be used by not only the normal user but also software developer all over the world.As Wikipedia mentioned,” Web 2.0 often uses machine-based interactions such as REST and SOAP. Servers often expose proprietary Application programming interfaces (API), but standard APIs (for example, for posting to a blog or notifying a blog update) have also come into use. Most communications through APIs involve XML or JSON payloads.” And about SOAP and REST, DuVander(2012) said,” For some time we’ve noted that SOAP is losing to REST and REST-like approaches. In fact, in most sectors, it’s already lost. 68% of the APIs in our directory are REST, while 19% are SOAP.” The benefits would be assembling the innovation and ideas from outside to improve application. To do this :

  • Offer API

API is a interface that could be used to call firm services by the software developer. Therefore, many new ideas of this application could be generated by third part.

  • Remixability

This is very important for Web 2.0 application, because use do not want to check map without street photo, search music without lyric. Therefore, design for remixing would be a key point for innovation assembly.

  • Standard support

Web 2.0 API needs to support existing popular standard for software developer.

  • Keep security of API

Web 2.0 API needs to have well-written document and high level security and test.

Some cons of the pattern

  • Terms of service: APIs terms should be improved to guarantee services.
  • Technology gaps: Many services have gaps in location, security and culture.

Evaluating Web 2.0 application

Facebook(www.facebook.com)  is the world largest social network and one of the most valuable website. But to look at the history of Facebook, it is just a company of no more than 10 years. Why it could be a explosive growth in those years, open platform is a secret weapon in its hand. Facebook offers API as an open platform to other third part company and well-designed remixability   , including picture, video, photo, location, game and so on to support software developer. One common used feature would be user login information opened towards other website, so you cold login into a forum by using Facebook account. This application must be in a common standard of information transfer protocol and security method involved. Twitter also open its API to public, but comparing with Facebook , it appears less on user account sharing area. In the future, Fecebook would become more portable and more interactive platform, even used in government and company.

References:

Wikipedia web 2.0 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0#Web_APIs (accessed March 20, 2012)

DuVander, A. 2012.  The Next Wave? Enterprises Moving SOAP to REST
http://blog.programmableweb.com/2012/03/22/the-next-wave-enterprises-moving-soap-to-rest/ (accessed March 20, 2012)

Aside

Pattern Two : Data is the next “intel inside”

Web 2.0 in this pattern
It is well known that internet and web 1.0 has in great extent improved people’s view for Data. They could reader them, search useful information, especially for students and researchers. People’s viewpoint towards data has been totally changed or updated after Web 2.0 applied into World Wide Web. Data could be made in different format, for example video, audio, XML and so on.  Besides data format, usage of data also changed a lot. People get rid of the traditional desktop application habit and change to a more open and shared online data services system or architecture. Meanwhile data strategies are used in Web 2.0 data management, including creation , control, framework ,access and data infrastructure.Wikipedia or Youtbe has  become the main data library for knowledge and video searching. Some core rules for data of Web 2.0:

  •   Unique data source

Web 2.0 need a unique data source to become more competitive, for example IMDB or Wikipedia

  •  Enhance data

Web 2.0 application requires data to be used in a more comprehensive structure and aggregated way. For example,  using tag or multi-dimensions searching.

  •   Balance the data for user and reserved for you

Data is the most important thing than hardware or software. Even thought user could edit their own data or upload own data, website also need to make some rule or logic to reserve the right for check, filter or management data to keep legal and security.

Some cons of the pattern

  • Data owner: Data must be under good management, so how to encourage date owner do work under policy is very important.
  • Copyright:Copyright is always a problem toward content provider.As O’Reilly(2005) wrote “A further point must be noted with regard to data, and that is user concerns about privacy and their rights to their own data. In many of the early web applications, copyright is only loosely enforced.”

Evaluating Web 2.0 application

4Shared(http://www.4shared.com/) is a file share Web 2.0 website, aiming to help user to share their file and help finder to find useful files that they are interested more convenient.4Shared has the unique data file management method and they enhance their data though giving file rate and classified data. User could upload their file and share to other website, as Ilascu(2010) said:” Creating a free 4shared online storage account lets you backup no less than 10GB of data to their servers and grants you access to it whenever you want”. in another word, other website could use their data, as Google maps could be used as basic data in some tour websites. But they still need some limit when you are not a member of them. Meanwhile they are shared the user information with Twitter and Feacbook to reuse data and outsource some data of user. Online library data is more well-structured than 4shared,but 4shared is more flexible to use and to share. In the future, 4Shared would improve the data management in social network domain. For 4shared ,that has no copyright problem as Youtube or some book data center.

References:

O’Reilly, T. 2005. What is web 2.0 http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=3 (accessed March 14, 2012)

Ilascu, I. 2010. 10GB of Free Online Storage  http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/windows/4shared-Desktop-Review-154276.shtml (accessed March 14, 2012)

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: