Pardon my somewhate randomized ramblings……
Significant changes keep swirling online as the internet becomes the key mainstream content vehicle, oceans of content continue to flow online, and mashups empower developers to flesh out even the most extravagant ideas with powerful tools reaching far into the rich data stores all over the web. Even market makers like Google, Yahoo, MSN don’t know how it’ll all shake out, and they are supporting many excellent mashups and APIs and developers to make sure bases are covered as the “real” battles for all that online spending heat up.
Where content was king it’s now just a pawn, and creating (large) communities in addition to a large content collection seems the best way to keep a web based company afloat in the stormy and rising online sea of sea changes.
*Unlike the gravy days of soaking up adsense revenues with auto-generated content, it appears online content providers need something “extra” es that will distinguish them from the other sites doing similar things.
The Internet in many ways, has done a partial circle back to quality stuff.
In early days it was non-competitive and fun and info focused.
Then came powerful commercial focus and info bias and heavy SEO for profitable terms.
I think the “new” transition is focusing on people/information, and rewarding those who create communities and bring *people* into contact with *people*. (e.g. Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, etc, etc). Increasingly, NON commerical sites like Wikipedia and DMOZ are taking on the roles that for a few years were provided by a plethora of auto generated, information poor – category rich sites that provided obscure topic details in a bland format.