“Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability”

This week is the last web 2.0 pattern, which is “Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability”. It combines with two concepts; firstly, the models are small constructing and verifying properties of a model within a bounded domain automatically, by means of enumeration over the domain. Additionally, scalability in web 2.0 applies to business models as well as technology; and changes in cost, re-usability, process; and strategy mean much more can be done for less. Therefore, adopt a scalable, cost-effective strategy encompassing business models, development models, and technology to deliver products to market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth. (Tim O’ Reilly, 2005)

There are some significant information about lightweight models:

  • Simplicity and organic web-based
  • Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems: Easy to make changes with less risk. Small pieces of applications/plugins are also less specialized, more reusable, shareable, and hackable.
  • Open source software – reuse easy and more cost-effective
  • Think sybdication, not coordination – RSS feed or REST-based web services
  • Design for hackability and remixability – an important goal for web services

The best example of lightweight model that I am going to explain is MailChimp.

MailChimp is a do-it-yourself online email marketing service. It is a distributed application that provides easy-to-use web based tool to over 300,000 users worldwide, from a single user to Fortune 500 Corporation. It offers free marketing service which allows its customers to design professional HTML emails, send emails with confidence, manage email list and track their own marketing campaigns in minutes with its simple tools. MailChimp delivers more than 200 million emails per month from over 70 countries and in 26 languages, including Cyrillic, Mandarin and Japanese…etc.(MailChimp, 2012). It has flexible plans for every budget as well as the forever free plan. It offers user-friendly web services interfaces and content syndication as well as re-using the data services of others.

In addition, MailChimp is an open programming language that makes users easy to sync with outside applications and databases, and also supports the most common programs and applications available (MailChimp, 2012). Whats more, MailChimp uses web 2.0 technology, RSS to develop the tool, called RSS-to-Email tool. This tool provides the users to automatically send a newsletter whenever they update their blog (or any RSS feed). It also offers two web services which are MailChimp API and MailChimp Plugins to MailChimp users. It has used MailChimp API as its lightweight programming business model which provides a high-level of integration between these applications and creates a more seamless experience for its customers (The Small Business Web, 2010).

Two web services:

  • MailChimp API is a way for people to “sync” your customer database, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management System (CMS), or e-commerce shopping cart with MailChimp (MailChimp, 2012). There is a version of the MailChimp API for PHP, .Net, Ruby, and XML. It is open and free, which encourages the third party developers to link their applications to MailChimp. Therefore, MailChimp API can be integrated with other applications like Drupal, WordPress, Zen Cart…etc. It is even compatible with Google Open Social platform, and allows people to interface MailChimp with MySpace, Ning, and other social networks (MailChimp, 2012). These will enable users to extend MailChimp functionality and make it cheap, and reusable and remix and share with others.
  • MailChimp plugin allows MailChimp users to connect MailChimp to their own favorite web applications such as CMS, blog, e-commerce shopping cart. It is created by some crafty MailChimp users using MailChimp APIs.

To sum up, the development of web 2.0 technology has impacted on people and business. MailChimp shows a great example in web 2.0 application with lightweight Models and cost-effective scalability, as well as innovation in assembly. According to MailChimp(2012), in December 2009 had more than 19000 users, and it increased significantly up to over 27000 users in May 2010; therefore, in the future, the Internet will support more web applications and the web server will offer more and more free and open web services.

Reference

O’reilly. “What Is Web 2.0”. Retrieved May 16, 2012.

Mailchimp (2012). “About MailChimp”. Retrieved May 16, 2012.

Research.att (2010). “Lightweight Modeling and Analysis: Studies and Comparisons of Alloy and Promela/Spin”. Retrieved May 16, 2012.

The Small Business (2010). “The Small Business Web”. Retrieved May 16, 2012.

Kang.K (2010). “Lightweight Models and Cost-effective Scalability”. Retrieved May 16, 2012.

“Leveraging the long tail”

The topic for this week is “Leveraging the long tail” in web 2.0 pattern. According to Anderson.C (2004), he indicated “the theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.”

Anderson described more clearly with the graph, the vertical axis is a period of seeling profit and the horizontal axis is popularity products; obviously, the dark part is the first 20% of popularity products can provide enough 80% revenue for business, however he found out the long tail will not suddenly decrease until zero, it becomes a very long tail. Due to the long tail has caused, those products become the niche products for business.

 

Anderson has declared three significant points of long tail:

  1. The diversification of products will make the market curve tail growth long, and its length is far beyond everyone’s imagination.
  2. In the Internet era so commonly, all the products can be cost-effective manner to engage with consumers.
  3. To integrate the end niche products will allow companies to create larger market.

 

Therefore, I would like to introduce Apple iTunes for this topic. iTunes is an online retailer which can stock virtually everything, and the number of available niche products outnumber the hits by several orders of magnitude. Those millions of niches are the Long Tail, which had been largely neglected until recently in favour of the Short Head of hits. In addition, iTunes online market, 80 percent of all revenue comes from around 52,000 tracks; but iTunes also provides music videos, television shows, iPod games, audiobooks, podcasts, movies and movie rentals. As a result, download music tracks from iTunes is main revenue, as we can say it’s the first 20% of popularity products make a very significant income on iTunes, and the 80% remains are niche products which make products more diversity that the long tail will never be end.

 

To sum up, iTunes has been great successful in their products, they keep production costs low and distributions must be cheap. It attracts people in a very low inventory costs to make the products which are only 20% popularity products out of 80% of other niche products. As we can say, the long tailers drive their inventory costs nearly to zero.

 

 Reference

Wired. “The Long Tail”. Retrieved May 9, 2012.

 

Billingworld. “Eight Lessons from the Long Tail”. Retrieved May 9, 2012.

 

Wikipedia. “ITunes”. Retrieved May 9, 2012.

 

Anderson,C(2004). “The Long Tail, in a nutshell”. Retrieved May 9, 2012.

“Perpetual Beta”

This week the topic focuses on “Perpetual Beta” in web 2.0 pattern. The software or applications that we used was installed already and always be the correct beta; however, in web 2.0 environment the beta updates regularly, it means that there is not correct version for applications in web 2.0, it constantly upgrade it with new functionalities and connect the services with customers all the time. According to Tim O’ Reilly, he indicated that engage users as real-time testers, and instrument the service so that providers know how people use the new features. Therefore, Facebook is one the best example that I would like to introduce in this web 2.0 pattern.

Facebook is a well-known social service for everyone, it provides users to create their personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Firstly, Facebook was only to upload albums and photos on personal pages, and then in 2007 it allows users to post attachments to the wall. Moreover, in 2008, Facebook released a Comet-based instant messaging application called “Chat” to several networks, which allows users to communicate with friends and is similar in functionality to desktop-based instant messengers. As a result, Facebook has forcing to upgrading the functionalities for users in order to supply more tools to serve customers.

In addition, same year in July 2008, Facebook introduced “Facebook Beta”, a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a “cleaner” look. After initially giving users a choice to switch, Facebook began migrating all users to the new version starting in September 2008. On December 2008, it was announced that Facebook was testing a simpler signup process. However, in the year 2011 and 2012 new feature of Facebook has come out named as ‘Facebook Timeline’, which is a new page interface on Facebook. Timeline is a way of displaying a list of events in chronological order, sometimes described as a project artefact. It is typically a graphic design showing a long bar labeled with dates alongside itself and (usually) events labeled on points where they would have happened.

Finally, Facebook constantly provide new version and update any functions based on users’ feedback. The feedback from users can assist to improve their services, and built up the good foundation from users experiences. Facebook never has the correct version; it continues every year or even every month to upgrading the functionalities in order to provide the better quality for users.

Reference

Wikipedia. “Perpetual beta”. Retrieved May 2, 2012.

O’reilly. “What Is Web 2.0”. Retrieved May 2, 2012.

Wikipedia. “Facebook”. Retrieved May 2, 2012.

Wikipedia. “Facebook of Timeline”. Retrieved May 2, 2012.

Wikipedia. “Timeline”. Retrieved May 2, 2012.

21stcenturylibrary. “Perpetual Beta – The Real 21st Century Library Model?”. Retrieved May 2, 2012.