Web 3.0: 'Vague, but Exciting'


Berners-Lee refers to Web 3.0 as the semantic Web because software can learn, intuit and decide. This means people will have "intelligent agent" software filtering information and making decisions for them (e.g., "best," "lowest priced"). For marketers, this means the potential for unprecedented targeting and data-mining-but advertising would be less effective. Marketers would stand on their merits, not their claims. After all, how do you convince software?

There will still be a need to tell stories and build brands, but there will be a new constituency to persuade. This will require a very different approach than most marketers use today. This approach will involve data-based understanding of how software will intuit and clear "tagging" as a form of communication. There's no guarantee that 3.0 intelligent agents will be any less biased or inaccurate than 2.0 people are today.
Why worry about Web 3.0 when only a handful of hyper-geek sites are even designed for it? Well, most marketers lag behind consumers when it comes to media adoption. (How many of us understand enterprise search today?)

But consider the fact Google was founded in 1998, it sold its first ads in 2000 and within five years it dominated the search market. Also mull the fact that social media was an oddity, an add-on for marketers through 2005; four years later, social sites, blogs and Twitter are shaping public opinion and marketers' efforts more than any single media trend.

Some marketers and agencies will understand that Web 3.0 represents an important evolution in how they can (or can't) interface with consumers looking for information and solutions. They'll start playing with these new programming languages and look at how they can evolve the principles of search marketing (a good proxy for how to interface with intelligent agents).
Still, most marketers have time before Web 3.0 matters. Don't they?

Greg Smith is COO of Neo@Ogilvy, North America, a digital and direct media agency based in New York.