Ok, all you amateurs out there producing content for the web, your time is up.
At least that’s according to an article at Newsweek in which the writer claims people are giving up on user-generated content and turning back to paid, professional experts.
In short, the expert is back. The revival comes amid mounting demand for a more reliable, bankable Web. “People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information,” says Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the Minneapolis-based research firm Iconoculture. Beal adds that choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a “perfect storm of demand for expert information.”
To prove the point, the writer brings up examples of projects like Google’s Knol “a Wikipedia-like Web site produced by “authoritative” sources that share ad revenue” and Mahalo, a “people-powered” search engine.
The motivation behind this is the concept that advertisers will pay big money to reach the “premium audience” on the web looking for “trusted” content.
Because “Nobody wants to advertise next to crap.” according to web “expert” Andrew Keen who maintains in his book “The Cult of the Amateur” that pretty much anything on the web not produced by a paid professional is crap.
In addition to Keen’s authorization, their evidence for this being a major trend comes from dredging up the old stories of how Wikipedia has errors in it and “scammers and frauds” use Craigslist.
Welcome to the world.
As much as Newsweek would like to believe they’ve identified the start of Web 3.0 (Revenge of the Expert), they’ve actually missed the whole point of web 2.0.
Experts never went anywhere. Even with all those amateurs posting material to the web, people still pay for information.
It’s just that all those amateurs making use of easy access to web publishing tools are also screwing up the experts’ monopoly.
Anyone looking for information on the web finds an increasingly wide variety of sources to choose from. And the new sites paying for content only increase that selection.
However, what’s different now is that it’s the user who gets to decide which sources are valid (and worth paying for), regardless of who’s producing it.