Website Characteristics and the Impact of User Perceived Value on User Behavior in Web 2.0

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Migration from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

The evolution of websites has so far consisted of two stages; namely, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. With some common thread, many different characteristics still exist in these two kinds of websites. To understand and capture the potential value that users can obtain in Web 2.0, we need to further examine their behavior in order to create and manage new business models that are based on it.

The differences in terms of the definitions and features of Web 2.0 compared with those of Web 1.0 help to focus this paper's research endeavors. O'Reilly (2005) first proposed the concept of Web 2.0 in a conference brainstorming session in 2001 as a new type of value creation by websites whereby the users rather than the website managers generate the content as was previously the case with Web 1.0. O'Reilly (2005) has identified 7 characteristic differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, including (1) the web as a platform, (2) harnessing collective intelligence, (3) the data is the next Intel Inside, (4) the end of the software release cycle, (5) lightweight programming models, (6) software above the level of a single device, and (7) rich users' experiences. Wikipedia is an example that can help us to understand these 7 characteristics of Web 2.0. Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia which was created by users' contributions through Wiki software. Everyone could access the platform, contribute to the content, and check existing content on the platform through the Wiki software. As Wikipedia accumulated more and more data, more and more users congregated and contributed to it. At the same time, more and more users used Wikipedia to search for the information that they wanted. In this case, we can see the characteristics of Web 2.0, including a platform, collective intelligence, data, software and users' experiences. It provides us with an example of a positive growth loop of Web 2.0. Obviously, the users' sustained contribution to the website is the source of the website value in terms of users' experiences and is enriched by the collective intelligence in the platform.

Users receive information from Web 1.0 for which the representative sites include DoubleClick, Ofoto, and Akamai. In this context, the website manager will be an information provider and handle the development direction of the website. There is also a lack of communication between the web manager and users. On the other hand, websites that are representative of Web 2.0 consist of Wikipedia, Flickr, and BitTorrent which serve as a public platform for users who are able to interact with the web manager and other users there. When using Web 2.0, the website manager will act as a platform manager rather than an information provider only. The main tasks for a manager of Web 2.0 are to manage the platform, collective intelligence and data well enough to enrich the users' experiences. This could result in a positive loop for website growth and its market value.

Since O'Reilly (2005) proposed the Web 2.0 concept, websites that fit in the concept of Web 2.0 have created high market value in several deals involving acquisitions. For example, Google paid up to 1.6 billion dollars to acquire YouTube in 2006 and Yahoo! also acquired Flickr and Wretch (a blog website in Taiwan) at a very high premium. These cases of acquisition reflect the high value creation of Web 2.0 which mainly hinges on a huge customer base because of users' sustainable contributions. By a sustainable contribution we refer to two different concepts. That is, firstly, "sustainable" means the users' loyalty to the website, and secondly, "contribution" means the content users contribute to the website. Loyal users will attract more users by contributing new content. Thus, users' loyalty and contribution are key factors for the success of Web 2.0 websites. For this reason, we would like to contribute by examing the antecedents of user behavior in Web 2. …