So ever since Plastic.com went off the air for four months and then came back more acrimonious than ever, I have been looking for other websites for my link fix to keep me Ahead of The Pack. Currently, I am checking out Digg, which seems to be Slashdot for people who also switch on CNN and FNN besides the Sci-Fi channel.
Digg is in love with Web 2.0 -- a very tortured love -- and links often to pundits and blog entries about this new way of working the web with websites built around audience participation, blogs, collectives, social entries and networking, and very dynamic technologies. Currently I keep running into posts about How To Succeed In Web 2.0 Ventures that all reference this idea by some guy named Seth Godin that your new web site product should be new and interesting and edgy and unsafe and stand out from the crowd and appeal to a definite niche, and then the thing will presumably market itself. Being a safe product requires a marketing budget, being a targetted product will make your audience do your marketing through word-of-mouth, or something.
The image he uses to vsiualize this is about making a Purple Cow.
Oh dear. Yeah, I am sure my European friends are having the same reaction I had. A Purple Cow as the height of quirky and innovative? Um, yeah, well, it would be, if a purple cow -- ok, well lavender, or lilac, but still purple -- hadn't been one of the most constant commercial images on TV and Print in large parts of Europe for at least the last twenty years.
Now, I have to say, the latest versions of the Milka cow are blue-er than I remember her, but she's still a damn purple cow. But edgy? Differentiated? Niche? Stands out from the crowd? Word Of Mouth? Only about how well Milka softly melts therein. It is a fine chocolate, but not a stellar or particularly remarkable one. Well, not in its home country; here in the US, where the standard for a chocolate bar, Hersheys, resembles mostly a flattened dark brown candle of which the wick has been surgically removed, Milka is a triumph of chocolaterie.
So yeah, Purple Cow. I am having issues with the Web 2.0 hype anyway, although I do recognize valuable Web 2.0 moments, community or otherwise, but the pundits latching on to an image to convey something it definately does not the moment you step into Western Europe doesn't do much to make me take dear Seth more seriously. Then again, the German site of Milka lets us join the Kuh-munity. Maybe Milka is really Web 2.0 after all.