Chapter Eight: Social Networks and Industry Disruptors in the Web 2.0 Environment
Online File W8.1 (continued)
Insights and Additions W8.1.1 Amazon.com’s Askville Service
Amazon.com recently launched an interesting service called Askville. According to Garrett (2007), this is a Web 2.0 product. The online service lets users ask questions and get a response from other users in lieu of posting query after query to one of the Web’s many search engines.
Amazon.com bills Askville as a place where users can “ask, answer, meet, and play.” If a person has a question on food safety or the proper care of hedgehogs, she can leave her question on one of Askville’s forums, where other users are free to respond. Users get “Quest Coins” and “Experience Points” for their activity, which they can redeem at Questville, a Web site that Amazon.com manages.
Unlike Google’s defunct service, Askville’s users can jazz up their answers with self-made movies from YouTube, Bolt.com, and yes, even Google Video. They can also integrate Google Maps into their answers if their subject deals with geography.
Sites like these—sites where users become authors, providing the site with its head count of writers and more than copious content—are part of Web 2.0.
Wikia.com and Collaborative Innovation
Wikia.com (wikia.com) is a for-profit Web site related to Wikipedia Foundation (which is a not-for-profit organization). Wikia is growing very rapidly; 30,000 contributors created 500,000 Wikia articles in 45 languages in a 2-year period (see McNichol 2007). One of its projects uses the people’s community brain to build a better search engine than Google. The idea is to tap into users’ enthusiasm (see McNichol 2007 for details).
The moves Google is making are consistent with its core competencies in search technology and the value proposition it offers to its customers, as stated in its mission statement “to organize the world’s information.”
Google was not a first mover in Web search engines, but it has been a best mover by innovating the Web search technology market.
An interesting area in the search engine war is the global market. For example, in China, Google is only number two (baidu.com is number one). Baidu chose a poetic Chinese name because it wanted the users to remember its heritage. As a native speaker of the Chinese language, Baidu focuses on what it knows best—Chinese language search. Applying avant- garde technology to the world’s most ancient and complex language is as challenging as it is exciting. For example, there are at least 38 ways of saying “I” in Chinese. However, Google is gaining ground, probably because its search results are more attractive to advertisers.
In summary, Google’s innovative approach to its strategic placement in the marketplace exemplifies many of the key points about EC strategy.
Online File W8.1 ◗ REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. 2. 3. 4. 5 .
What is a search engine? List the major types of search engines. Compare Yahoo! to Google. Review Google’s competitive strategy. D e s c r i b e a n s w e r - b a s e d s e a r c h e n g i n e s .