Short version: When you choose to co-create with a company, the sustainability of your content rises and falls with the fortunes of that company. If Flickr, Second Life, YouTube or *insert name of fave blogging software* vanishes, so does your hard work. … hush now, dry your eyes.The technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite index peaked in March 2000, reflecting the high point of the dot-com bubble

Dotcom Crash 1.0 was the crash we had to have. Also known as the TechCrunch (not to be confused with that estimable blog thing), it forced Web beta and Web 1.0 companies to get with market realities or get out. Most got out. From Investopedia:

When: March 11, 2000 to October 9, 2002
Where: Silicon Valley (for the most part)
Percentage Lost From Peak to Bottom: The Nasdaq Composite lost 78% of its value as it fell from 5046.86 to 1114.11.

and also this

In the year 1999, there were 457 IPOs, most of which were internet and technology related. Of those 457 IPOs, 117 doubled in price on the first day of trading. In 2001 the number of IPOs dwindled to 76, and none of them doubled on the first day of trading.

So we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and resolved to do things differently. The infrastructure and startup technology was already in place. Thank you 1995. We needed the Dotcom crash to clear the detritus so that Web 2.0 could be born. By giving customers a voice and a social network and by making early adopters, early adapters, a more sustainable business model evolved. It is no longer enough to create a cool tool (Hot Dog, Netscape anyone?), you need to build a community around it and allow the consumer to become a prosumer and create around it. That ensures longevity and loyalty.

So now, instead of kowtowing to Angels and VCs for biggish money (5- 20 million in the first round) , we take out 100,000 dollar mortgages on the house, or similar loans from ma and pa. Instead of fancypants IPO, we acquire similar Web2.0 properties, or (more likely) merge with likeminded small companies playing with offbeat technologies that aren’t our core, but become so (Blogger was a *sideline* that got sold to Google, Flickr was a gaming company with some *fotosharing* tools). Eventually we plan on- not to IPO but instead – to be acquired by a benevolent superwebpower; for example Google or Yahoo!.

But a crash is coming. Why? Because it’s the nature of the human condition. Life is a pendulum and it’s tres tricky to get off the wheel. Ask Buddhists. Plus, once the Web 2.0 bubble bursts we can get on with Web 3.0. We need the bubble to burst to force companies to not only focus on useability but to look at universability – pinching stuff from each other’s sites as a matter of course.

The semantic web is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a form that can be understood, interpreted and used by software agents, thus permitting them to find, share and integrate information more easily

I’m still coming to grips with this whole semantic thing but I do know one thing; the next crash will affect users not investors. Imagine if you will that the market leaders today – in the same way that Hot Dog and Netscape and Napster were back in the ’90s – had to pull the plug on say oh, YouTube, Blogger and Flickr. What would happen to the content you have painstakingly collected over the years? The stuff you spent hours (months, years) creating? Gone. Let alone the social networks you have built up. Gone.

This time it won’t be WorldCom and Cisco and Amazon crying, it’ll be everyday users and consumers/prosumers. In other words, you and me. And when I tell you it’s for your own good, and that we need single *door* services such as YouTube and Flickr to fail/retreat so that Web 3.0 semantic service can kick off, you’ll just cry even harder. From wikipedia:

…an evolutionary stage of the World Wide Web in which automated software can store, exchange, and use machine-readable information distributed throughout the web, in turn enabling users to deal with the information with greater efficiency and certainty.

Poor loves. Trust me, it’s all to your benefit… and don’t stop categorising with del.icio.us or integrating folksonomy with your techorati website tags. All that will still help lay the foundation for Web 3.0 – and the services that survive.