Social networks like Facebook and MySpace are popular but hard to monetise. Other “Web 2.0” phenomena (Twitter, Tumblr et al) may be next to impossible to wring a dollar out of. So what’s a Web 2.0 developer to do? Head to the corporate world, says Forrester, which predicts that something called the “Global Enterprise Web 2.0 Market” will hit $4.6 billion by 2013.
So what exactly does the “Global Enterprise Web 2.0 Market” consist of? From what we can tell, Forrester is talking about corporations spending money to create internal wikis and other collaboration software, as well as marketing adventures like social networks and blogs — Forrester throws out Kodak’s A Thousand Words blog as an example. What it’s not: Purely consumer-focused services like Facebook, NetVibes, etc.
We’re still a little fuzzy about some of those distinctions — what’s the difference between spending money to create your own blog versus spending money on a Facebook marketing campaign? — but we get the big picture: Lots of the flexibile, lightweight communication tools created in the past few years may find actual paying customers in the form of big, lumbering companies trying to get more nimble.
This sounds reasonable to us, but it also gives us a “seen this movie before” feeling. We recall that in the later stages of the last bubble, the conversation also moved from “B2C” startups to “B2B” companies: Sure, selling pet food on the Web might be a trickier business than we thought, but creating exchanges between businesses? That’s a market worth trillions!
But do note that Forrester isn’t talking about a gold-rush here; it’s talking about a modestly-sized market growing over 5 years. And, of course, no one’s exposing the public investors to this thesis (at least not directly). If it turns out that G.E. has less use for a set of wikis in 2013 than Forrester thinks, it’s not going to be a calamity.
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