Free Rides on the Web2.0 Highwire

It's an awkward, mysterious place where commerce and Web 2.0 intersect. Open source projects, such as those sponsored by Google last summer, "This Is Cool" projects originated by developers on their own time, and sites hopeful of commercial viability live in a fragile space. Developer attention wanders. Interests shift. Social networks may grow but later shrink as the novelty wears off. Sites may not achieve viability, or fail to attract investor risk-taking.

This may or may not be the case with Voo2do.com, a lightweight personal "project management" site embraced by some adherents of David's Allen's Getting Things Done. It's been a handy tool, and today it's been down all day. Could be a momentary disruption, or the end of an experiment. Its user population is probably modest -- I have no idea -- but it's certainly much smaller than Flickr.

Come to think of it, how much does Flickr contribute to Yahoo's bottom line? Above the line, it must be a large bandwidth sinkhole (though less deep than for YouTube or MySpace). "Web2.0" experiments can be compelling -- e.g., PageFlakes or WidgetBox -- but relying on them for an important application is easily questioned. Never mind "important" -- think about all those family photos disappearing because they weren't backed up at home if Yahoo decides Flickr doesn't pay its way.

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