The first thing to know about Web 3.0 is that while Web 2.0 was about reliance on the big tech brands, Web 3.0 is about content creation, ownership, identity, and little tech. Web 3.0 is a decentralized web, and it's built around blockchain technology, the same technology that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies are built upon. This article will look at what Web 3.0 might mean for marketers.
The Evolution of the Web
Web 1.0, or the “world wide web,” was essentially about static web pages, with text, perhaps some images, and perhaps the ability to send a message to the website owner. There was a very low level of interaction, and most pages simply displayed information. This version of the Web can be said to be about the centralization of produced content, with an emphasis on portals, AOL, Yahoo, Craigslist, and web directories such as Dogpile and Altavista.
Web 2.0, can be characterized by user-generated content, which is then consumed by other users. This began with social media sites such as GeoCities, which allowed users to create personal profile pages, and continued with blogs, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, TikToc, Vine, Instagram, Wikipedia, and many others. Web 2.0 also featured the rise of search engines and much more interaction between websites and their visitors.
According to Avner Brodsky, CEO of Superwatches.com, Web 3.0 is great for marketers because it gives creators direct ownership of everything they create. “With Web 3.0, there is no need to rely on outside sellers like Amazon or, more importantly, banks. Additionally, Web 3.0 offers an opportunity to move on from the traditional ways influencers and creators have turned a profit in the past.”
With Web 2.0, content creators are at the mercy of the companies that own the brands that they advertise for, said Brodsky, and influencers have to represent a brand in a very specific way in order to make a living. That should change with Web 3.0 because of blockchain. “Web 3.0 cuts out the middle man by using Blockchain technology and allows an open ecosystem to flourish which will lead to a reinvention in the marketing industry. Basically, Web 3.0 is great for companies and marketers because it means that they can have direct control over their data which leads to transparency and consumer trust,” said Brodsky.
“Web 3.0 tech can also help marketers by improving the way customer buying habits across platforms are analyzed,” said Brodsky. “AI is a huge star in the Web 3.0 world because with natural language processing tech, marketers are able to collect more data about their consumers.”
The concept for Web 3.0 is that it is decentralized, people control their own data, and move from social media to email to shopping, all using a single personalized account that creates a public record on a blockchain that holds a record of all of that activity. The companies that control the services that are used by people on Web 3.0 will be small brands that compete with each other on the blockchain.
It’s important to understand that Web 3.0 will not replace Web 2.0, but rather, Web 3.0 technologies and concepts will be incorporated into current Web 2.0 services.
The core features of Web 3.0 include decentralization, openness, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and ubiquitous connectivity.
- Decentralization: With Web 3.0, because the information is discovered based on its content (i.e. the Semantic Web), it may be stored in multiple locations at the same time and as such, it will be decentralized. The data that is continually generated through Web 3.0 technology will be monetized by the users themselves through decentralized data networks.
- Openness: The Web 3.0 network will enable participants to interact directly without going through a “trusted” intermediary, and anyone will be able to participate without authorization from a governing party. Web 3.0 applications will run on blockchains, decentralized networks, or both.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: Web 3.0 computers will be able to understand language through technologies that are based on Semantic Web concepts and Natural Language Processing (NLP), and will use machine learning to gradually improve its accuracy.
- Ubiquitous connectivity: With Web 3.0, information and content are able to be accessed by multiple applications, as well as internet-connected devices, i.e., the data can be viewed as “headless.”
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Why Does Web3 Use the Blockchain?
Web 3.0 seeks to incorporate financial assets, in the form of tokens, into the inner workings of almost everything that is done online by users. To accomplish this, it relies upon blockchain technology.
A blockchain can be described as a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across an entire network of computers on the blockchain. Each “block” in the chain contains a number of transactions, and each time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of the transaction is added to the blockchain ledger. Because no one entity is in charge of the blockchain, it cannot be hacked and the transactions cannot be faked, which keeps it safe from fraud and theft.
How Does Web 3.0 Affect Marketers?
Charlie Neer, chief revenue officer at MiQ, a leading programmatic media partner, said that the economics of the internet are changing, and that Web 3.0 is geared to demystify the role of identity as well as the future of advertising and marketing. "With this change of terrain focused on privacy and fairly compensating creators, marketers and advertisers are scrambling to adjust to these means as they rapidly approach (and the early stages are already here).”
“What does this look like in our current environment? Currently, when an individual downloads a song, the creator gets a fraction of the total revenue and the host (think Spotify or Apple Music) makes out like a bandit. The same goes for creators on YouTube, Twitch, etc,” explained Neer. This is going to rapidly change with the Web 3.0 revenue model, and the content creators will be the ones in control.
Identity and privacy are another aspect of Web 3.0, which gives back control to the individual user. If anyone is making money from the data that comes from a user, the user should be involved and in control. “Another topic being addressed by Web 3.0 from the current environment is the fact that corporations are gaining millions off users' identities. These millions of dollars are made from recording users' web behaviors and then positioning advertising and marketing efforts accordingly,” said Neer. “Being that identity is a vehicle of value on the internet, and with the depreciation of the cookie, this begs the question — is this an ethical exchange?”
Web 3.0 is all about the content creator, and the economy it creates will undoubtedly reflect that. “Under Web 3.0, new ways for people to transact will be created and the new economy will benefit the creator. That being said, the transactions of Web 3.0 can be viewed from three perspectives: the creator, the user, and brands/platforms,” said Neer.
Neer breaks it down into two segments: the content creator and the end-user (the consumer of the content that has been created).
- Content Creator: “Creators will continue to push to receive fair compensation for the content they are publishing on platforms.”
- User: “Users want to have control over whether or not advertisers can use their data and identity to make money. Eventually, companies like Comcast will give discounts if we allow them to monetize our data by selling it to advertisers. But ultimately, that should be the user's choice.”
In the end, brands will have to change their working economic models or become the dinosaurs of the past, much like the static content of Web 1.0 has done. “Evolve or die,” said Neer. “Moving forward, platforms such as YouTube or Spotify will need a model that fairly compensates creators otherwise survival moving forward is not likely (given the increase in awareness of internet ethics)."
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Web 3.0 changes the dynamics of the web, and puts the content creator, whether they are creating videos, or simply data, in charge. The web has transitioned from the freedom to access information, to the freedom to create and consume content, to the decentralization of action and knowledge, free from the control of large corporations and private entities.