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Criticism for Web 2.0

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Technological content

Unlike terms like HTML 4.01, indicating a specific technology, or Internet2 (with which it should not be confused and designating a consortium), Web 2.0 has no precise definition by consensus.

The changes he designates do the result from a consultation of the World Wide Web Consortium. Accordingly, interactivity is made by superimposing many layers, so that were abandoned by  higher-level languages that would have enabled a richer web. Some computer specialists regret this anarchy resulting in poor performance.

Benjamin Bayart denounced the fact that the content of Web 2.0 is more centralized by institutions than Internet allows. Ultimately, it is more of a cobweb network (web), than a star network. Derisively, he proposed to call “Minitel 2.0” what the media called Web 2.0.

An especially marketing term

The journalists were taken aback by the term “web 2.0” before using it themselves. They note that many players consider Web 2.0 as Monsieur Jourdain spoke prose, before the marketing does imposing this term. This makes the term a buzzword often used improperly.

In summary, the eyes of the computer scientists, the term “Web 2.0” would be at best a generic term for a set of further developments regarding rather the uses than techniques (so being related more of the sociology than computers).

Using a fake computer version

The “.0” evokes the software version numbers; but the new software versions are announced clearly, which distinguishes them from previous ones, so that the existence of Web 2.0 is an a posteriori constant. While terms like “participatory Web” clearly identify a use, the use of a number can evoke a standard (which is not the case at all, as opposed, for example, or IPv6 or Internet2 – especially the web 2.0 is not from a recommendation of the World Wide Web Consortium).

The “.0” can give an accurate impression of the release, while on the contrary that means the web 2.0 is still quite vague, different experts do not always agree on the classification of a service.

Preexisting technologies

Another criticism is that of “new” attributed to “Web 2.0” is based on technologies and concepts of “web 1.0”. Thus, examples of Web 2.0 services are entirely contained in the original web.

The term Web 2.0 has led to the use of web 1.0 and web 1.5 retronyms to refer to previous methods of the web. According to the used definitions, an Internet forum is classified as Generation 1.5 or 2.0. However, not only the forums have existed in the early days of the web, usenet for ex. existed before the web.

Many of the ideas of Web 2.0 have been used on well before the term websites are used. Amazon.com, for example, allowed users to write reviews and consumer guides since its inception, and opened its API to third party developers in 2002. Conversely, when a site proclaims “Web 2.0” because that it uses trivial features such as blogs or degraded, it is often more of an attempt to promote a true exploitation of the ideas of Web 2.0.


There are a few examples still stronger than the Amazon where the content generated by users is only peripheral to the site content:

  • the Dmoz directory, launched in 1998: the entire content is generated by users.
  • news agency Indymedia operates in open publishing since its creation in 1999.

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