August 21, 2009

Net Leeches: How good or bad is phenomenon dependence?

There are hundreds of companies that build their business model around the most popular IT Phenomenons of the time. You must have come across Web Services that claim to enhance your Twitter Experience. You must have come across websites and blogs, including techedIN, that run only 'Ads by Google' There are developers who develop only for Facebook. I would like to call them Net Leeches and I would like to call what they do 'phenomenon dependence'

Over the years, all of us have come to understand that trends on Internet are like water bubbles. They can burst any time. And if they don't burst, like Google haven't, these trends can suddenly change their policies not to suit what you are doing.

Very recently, I hope you have heard about a URL Shortening company going down the drains because they have built their entire business model around Twitter. Of course, on Popular Demand, it is back again. But I'm sure they are running it with out any economic gain. They are just running it because they don't want the URL to get into the hands of 'bad' people. It is sad that such a popular web service had to think of closing down because of their phenomenon dependence. It is interesting to note that their decision to close made people who use their services panic.

I have come across many blogs talking about search engine optimization and the way Google blacklist websites and services that they don't like. I have read their ever growing rant about how 'evil is Google' because they don't show up in the first page of search result. Why do Google usually blacklist sites? Do they have the right to blacklist sites? I think they do because they make it clear when and how they blacklist a site. It is the fault of the leech sites that they decided to depend on the phenomenon.

You must also have heard about the Netscape Founder funding a project that builds a browser that is specifically made to access Facebook. IT Experts are already wondering how it can help him? This is phenomenon dependence and may have only a short term success, even if it does succeed. And I wonder why the man who made Netscape wants to be a Net Leech!

This is what I think of phenomenon dependence and Net Leeches:
  1. There is something popular online and the Net Leeches come up with quick solutions to make the maximum out of that phenomenon. But what if all of a sudden the phenomenon dies?
  2. What if the company that created the phenomenon changes their policies and cuts off the Net Leech? Like Apple did to Google Voice? Or Twitter did to Trim?
  3. What if all of a sudden there is another phenomenon on-line and the leech cannot quickly change directions to make the most out of the new wave as they have a phenomenon dependent audience.
  4. What if the Phenomenon Company comes up with a product similar to what is floated by the Net Leech Company? 

I wish Net Leeches would find a way to stand on their own and let the phenomenon company take care of enhancing their own user experiences. This way, web can see a lot more innovation! Like Trim decided to kill their URL Shortening Service and go to greener pastures. That was a late decision of course. Better late than never, isn't it? I wish all Net Leeches would follow suit!

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