Web 2.0/3.0/X.X??? This One’s for the Marketers

Expert online marketer Andy Beal was not only kind enough to sit down with me for an interview, but was also kind enough to mention Road Trip 2.0 on his much-acclaimed website, Marketing Pilgrim. For those of you who may have ended up here from the Marketing Pilgrim post, welcome!

Imagine this:

You’re driving around Boston on Lifecation. You’re looking for the best Irish pub in town, and have no idea where to start or who to ask. You prefer a bit of a dive bar with sports playing on multiple TVs and a late 20s/early 30s crowd. You are looking for a hotel in a specific price range, and would like for it to be near the bar…you don’t know how late of a night it’s going to be, since the Red Sox are in the World Series, after all.

As you drive into the city, your GPS/Cell/WiMAX Phone displays a comparative list of bars and hotels within 5 miles of each other. Each bar/hotel combination also displays the level of matching criteria based on your previously-input requirements. A dive bar with sports on multiple TVs, but with a college crowd, might display as matching 67%. It may be paired with a hotel two miles away that meets your price range, amenities, and availability at 90%.

A couple of blocks later, you happen upon a bar and hotel combination that are both 90%+ matching your criteria and within a mile of each other. You set it to book your room, park at the hotel, check in, and head straight to the pub just in time for the opening pitch.

Andy mentioned the fact that so many people are trying to define Web 3.0 as Web 2.0 becomes more settled into our marketing psyches.

In my opinion, Web 3.0 is in the works and it’s a combination of three key things that are happening:

  • Microformats
  • GPS/Geographic Location
  • Open Wireless Networks

What Are Microformats?

Microformatting is the idea that data can be chunked into smaller portions of data based on certain, pre-defined data structures.

When I make a blog post to RoadTrip20.c0m, I am entering data into an application called WordPress. This data is essentially six parts that are the same six essential ingredients to any blog post: Author/login, Password, Subject, Body/Post, URL, Tags.

If I make a blog post on Blogger, Nucleus, TypePad, etc, the same essential data structure and set of data is entered in the specific format (databases, table structures, etc) for that specific platform.

Taking this a step further, I have at least a dozen logins for all of my social media accounts, email accounts, personal applications, etc. Yet, the login process remains the same two parts: Login, Password.

By looking at the ways that we use the internet and breaking down these activities into the most basic of formats, then deciding on standards for these formats, this will then allow for an extensibility and flexibility, as well as more rapid development cycles and integrations, far greater than is possible with APIs today.

With Microformats, your GPS/cell phone is then able to talk to Google for relevant ads, Kayak for travel arrangements, and your Google Account for personal information.

GPS/Geolocation: Bridging the Offline and the Online.

Starting this trip, we decided to not use any paper maps or atlases for driving directions. All directions would be done on Google Maps and GPS.

I’ll be honest: I thought the GPS was completely unnecessary since Google Maps should suffice. I was completely wrong. What we’ve actually found is that Google Maps gets us there…if we don’t get lost. Inevitably, we do get lost. As well, we end up wandering around cities a lot, taking in the various cultures, architecture, scenery, etc. The GPS has come in handy countless times getting us unlost, back to the van, or with just figuring out where the heck we are.

However, I would never use just one or the other. The ability to plot business locations, Wal-Mart parking lots, wi-fi hotspots, coffee shops, etc, on Google Maps gives us a degree of certainty, relevance, and continuous timeliness that GPS just doesn’t provide.

With Web 3.0, these two functions must be integrated.

You may scoff at this idea and say “But I already know where I’m going…I know my neighborhood, the stores and restaurants I like, why would I need that?” Well, you don’t. Just like you didn’t need a BlackBerry when they came out - why would you need to check your e-mail while driving to dinner?

If you had more information about various locations that was tailored to your wants/needs, do you think that you might become more adventurous in your endeavors? If you’re looking for a new Chinese restaurant but don’t know where to look, you might not expend the effort looking for a new one and continue at your present eating location. But if the information was pushed to you, do you think it would influence where you ate next?

The integration of your present location and location-specific information/commerce will become more useful as it gets used more. That may sound like some sort of doublespeak, but we’ve seen the symbiosis of development/availability and usage perpetuate each other through every rise in technology that has ever come about into wide acceptance.

Open Wireless Networks: The Key Infrastructure Change

We already have wireless, you say? You’re right. But do you get it on your street corner? At the restaurant? In the subway? On the highway?

I trashed my cell phone in order to throw myself into the world of the Skype phone. Lesson #1: Open wireless networks are few and far between.

If the integration of the offline world and the online world is going to occur, there needs to be some sort of medium available for connecting the two.

I say “Open Wireless Networks,” but what I really mean is some form of communication medium that is both widespread and openly accessible. Intel is making the push for WiMAX. Google is bidding on new radio frequencies. Both of these come at a great cost. But what’s the benefit to owning the infrastructure for revolutionary communication? If you don’t know, just ask Ma Bell a few decades ago, or perhaps the cable companies today.

The bottom line is that this kind of connectivity through one provider will not be this clear-cut. With WiMAX and the new radio frequencies appearing to make a strong effort, it looks like we may have the next VHS/Betamax war.

Fin. (I’m in Montreal, I figured I should at least use some French.)

Perhaps the imaginary situation I presented above doesn’t seem so imaginary after all. Sure, it’s a long way out from now, but with the continued development in the areas of data flexibility and extensibility allowed by microformats, combined with the ability for utilizing precise locations, and wrapping this all up with an open and accessible platform for this kind of communication, I feel the same sense of excitement when AJAX, APIs, communities, Sans Serif Fonts, and bold colors began permeating our culture…You know…“Back in the day.”

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     Social Media Marketing Efforts for RoadTrip20.com, Part 01

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2 Comments in 1 thread.»

Comment by Alexi
2007-10-05 14:32:18

Dude… behind a cut, please ;-)

Comment by Ben
2007-10-05 14:39:00



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