Roll up, Roll up

I read an interesting posting over at alarm:clock about Web Roll-Up. This is where a company aggregates a whole pile of web 2.0 gizmos.Marc Canter, the founder of Macromedia is a big fan of the ‘digital lifestyle aggregator’ concept because Web 2.0 companies are often considered just single features to be bought by someone else.

So the theory goes that aggregating these services together provides the customer with a burning desire to visit your site instead.

This reminds me of of a how the pitch for a web portal must have gone a decade ago, has Canter et al dusted down some old PowerPoint decks and sprinkled them with XML web services goodness?

Web 2.0 are a reaction to three things:

  • Bloatware such as Microsoft Office. There is a sweet spot between functionality and usability, by focusing on doing one thing well applications like Backpack are trying to address this market
  • Using open APIs still provides the connected benefit of integrated applications if its needed (like the ability to write this blog in Flickr and post both blog and display a picture from my Flickr album here)
  • Using the power of collaboration to ’empower’ the consumer. Businesses already realise how valuable it is , its the reason why IT directors go all moist at the thought of how many concurrent seats an Oracle application can support or the benefits that groupware like Lotus Notes can supply whilst still frustrating users

I can’t see the benefit that a web roll-up would provide. Whilst portals are good providers of news, dedicated new media sites have managed to thrive amongst them.