Early Adopters of Technology Do Not Make a Market
Web 2.0, the current frenzied trend in online technology is having difficulty attracting the majority of the market. In spite of the success with technology enthusiasts and early adopters, their share of the total online market remains low. Hitwise has just published market share statistics for internet search, email and news, which throws up a few surprises.
Note that the older services like, mapquest mapping services, get 10 times the traffic of google maps. Another surprise is that Yahoo Mail gets 20 times more traffic than Google's Gmail, in spite of the more rudimentary features.
Many blog authors, who are a success among these early adopters, still need to attract mainstream visitors to make a living from their blog. Similarly, the popularity of web2.0 services like youtube and flickr is limited to early adopters , blog-users, causing the referred blog echo chamber effect. But, as the hitwise statistics show,
no impact on the mainstream so far.
The big mistake for web2.0 startups is that they are ignoring the mainstream market, not realizing that early adopters are a fickle customer segment when it comes to building profit. The rule of thumb among VCs is that the first 25,000 subscribers are irrelevant.
The big threat for web2.0 startups are that the mainstream online players like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, who already have one foot on the mainstream market. They can adapt web2.0 ideas, make them easily understandable for the pragmatist, skeptical mainstreamers and make an easy introduction to their existing subscribers. A classic set piece scenario in Crossing the Chasm between early adopters and the pragmatist mainstream market.
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