Article

Step Up To Web 2.0

October 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Tim Madel - Also by this author

Last month we introduced the concept of Web 2.0 – the next step in the evolution of the Internet and how people use it. Web 2.0 revolves around the core concept that information is king. While Web 1.0 sites were static conveyors of information published by a few for the consumption by the many, Web 2.0 revolves around participation, information that is alive and wide distribution of the data.

Let’s look at each of these individually:

The Web is all about content, which becomes even more relevant under Web 2.0. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo, while remaining important, will be matched in importance by information aggregators like www.flickr.com and http://del.icio.us – sites that allow any Web surfer to describe and rate information found on other Web sites – resulting in user-created metadata, or more simply, data about data. This produces far more relevant results than can be indexed automatically. The beauty of this is that you can benefit from this user-created metadata immediately without any changes to your sites.

With Web 2.0 progression, it will be imperative that your site supports Real Simple Syndication, or RSS, feeds. Consumers in the market to buy a car will visit your site and subscribe to your syndication. Then, anytime you update your specials, or add a vehicle they’re interested in, subscribers will automatically get the new content delivered directly to them. People will expect to have information fed to them immediately, and RSS feeds can provide that service.

Another important trend is making your data (i.e. inventory) available to anyone who wants to display it. This is implemented via Web services that effectively expose your vehicle database via a programming interface. This allows anyone to create a wrapper around your inventory. While you lose some control over your inventory, you benefit from increased exposure. Visit http://kokogiak.com/amazon/ for an example of how someone did this to Amazon’s inventory.

Because these changes allow your content to be delivered to consumers outside of the framework of your Web site, it is crucial that your data and your site are branded. It’s important to include all contact information and other relevant information about your dealership within the data that can be syndicated.

How does all of this affect you and your Web site? In the short term, the Web 2.0 trend will have little effect on your reaching consumers interested in buying cars. Your combined effort of having a great Web site, with loads of inventory and specials, and effective Search Engine Marketing campaigns will allow you to be successful on the Internet. As you moving forward you must be aware of these trends and ensure that your Web provider is planning for them as well.
 
Vol 3, Issue 8

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