I recently read an article on Techcrunch on how web 2.0 had undoubtedly made an impact, but had yet to truly make money. From my stance they is really one way to make money on the web, which is through advertising (paid subscription services are dying). This can either be done through a simple banner ad, or something that can more easily be deemed a qualified lead or referral. Ads will always be there, but if web 2.0 is to start making money it must be on improving the measurement and throughput of qualified leads.
Without going into too much detail on referrals and qualified leads I’d like to mention a great example of this, mint.com. Mint offers a great free service of managing your personal finances. Throwing out security and sharing your data (another time another place), they do a great job of categorizing and monitoring your finances. In exchange they have access to your spending history. So you give them your spending history, in exchange that have hundreds of thousands of peoples data, such as what credit card you use, who your cable provider is. With this mint does what I believe is a good job of generating referrals, but telling you how much you can save by switching from Internet provider A at $60 per month to Internet provider B at $30 per month. They’re not just giving ads for the sake of it, they’re giving me something that I would actually want.
Does this lead to higher or lower revenue? We’ll this I’m not sure of, but with regards to advertising, feel this is a more better fit for a user. I only get things that the service provider thinks I want not what they think they can sell me. As we reach more of the semantic understanding of the web I believe this will prevail and make web 2.0 more profitable, but it cannot be done with web 2.0 alone.