The web of the future is going to make content supreme. What’s more, it’s going to make it incredibly valuable in ways that may finally see content creators get real reward and value for their efforts.

Almost since the start of the modern web, industry experts have been continually saying that Content is King: And they’ve been right, but now they’re right in ways that they couldn’t have possibly imagined.

The coming semantic web, known variously as the data web, microformats, FOAF, RDF, Linked Data, Web 3.0 and a whole host of new acronyms is pointing to big changes in cybersphere.

Yahoo recently announced it was embracing semantic web standards , and has already released some interesting tools that point to the future. Many are seeing this as a good thing and direct challenge to Google.

The End of Google?

The father of the modern web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee also recently weighed in saying the semantic web could topple Google’s dominance of the online space. The Australian

While the talk of semantic standards has been around for a while, it is now shaping up as something all web businesses and marketers should start thinking about.

Even though we’ve barely got our heads around Web 2.0, now Web 3.0 will take things to a completely new level . One that most online businesses are totally unprepared for.

Essentially, it is about marking up your data or content in a format that can be universally transferred, processed, shared, combined and mapped by any number of organisations, systems, applications and devices.

In other words making communication much, much easier than it is now.

The possibilities are, well, endless.

Of course, many social networking sites, like Linkedin, Facebook and many others, have already started using semantic data to some extent to deliver their services. Blogs and social networks rely on them at a very basic level too, although many are far from compliant., In any event, the new standards will take it to a whole new level.

Eventually all of the information in these networks will be connected, providing us with applications that will give us a much more seamless experience of not just the web, but in virtually everything where there is data and information stored about us.

Sir Berners-Lee gives one just one example:

“When you look at a calendar, suddenly it's got information from all the different places. It may have personal photographs from the family, bank statements from your company, financial statements from your company showing up there. You might use those for deciding where you want to meet with somebody at any particular point, figuring out what was happening on any particular day. You may not want to share that with the people you're in a meeting with. To get a deeper understanding read the transcript of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s interview here.”

For the podcast or full transcript of his interview see Talking with Talis,

New Opportunities New Challenges for Businesses and Marketers

In this environment, those who create the data and content, whether it is in existing databases or on web pages are going to have an inherent advantage. They are going to have the raw material, the commodity that other people will want. New applications, new services will need to get their data from somewhere.

Scott Brinker, a marketing technologist with more than 20 years experience and president & CTO of ion interactive, explains the implications for marketers this way.

“Marketing in the semantic web clearly won't be like marketing in the visual web. Advertising and branding won't exist in the form we know today.”

On his blog , Scott goes on to point out how the semantic web represents a huge opportunity for marketers and lists some of the challenges and opportunities that they face.

New Headaches

Michael Arrington over at Techcrunch says what it means is that we can expect the web to get itself organised in a hurry.

At a base level, it will mean sites, which are correctly marked up, can expect to get a significant amount of more traffic than those that aren’t, so the race is on, but even that's not the main game anymore.

This all of course means that 1: There’s going to a whole lot more coding going on, making the code writers busier than ever, and 2: It drastically changes the game of search engine optimisation.

And that’s just the start.

For business owners, having to deal with yet another paradigm shift in web development is obviously going to mean greater cost.

Trying to explain it to them is not going to be easy.

But for those businesses that do “get” the new web, there will need to be whole lot of work to do on identifying what data they have, how to categorise it, promote it. Then there are the opportunities to add value to it and even brand the data.

New Semantic Services Already Appearing

Beta service like dapper and Yahoo Pipes are already available for those who have some sort of valid content to take advantage of. Expect a lot more to appear soon.semantic web

As marketers what do you think of Web 3.0?

Are we ready for it?


Here are some more links explaining what the semantic web is about.

Web 2.0 is Not the Enemy

Young Guns Driving Semantic Web Part 1

Young Guns Driving Semantic Web Part 2

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