Why Webware, CNET? / by Nate Westheimer

Webware Last month, CNET rolled out their latest blog: Webware.com, with the tag-line "Cool Web Apps for Everyone." (Note: I found out about the site after meeting Webware reporter Caroline McCarthy at the nextNY Holiday Drinking party.)

At first, it's hard to understand why CNET would need another "web as a platform" blog, as they already own the Web 2.0 Blog as a part of their news.com.com empire (which enjoys a Google PageRank of 7) and which runs with the tag-line of "CNET'S Look at New Online Applications."

So, "Cool Web Apps for Everyone" vs. "CNET'S Look at New Online Applications" it is... what's really going on here?

Here are a few notes from my looking into it:

  • Webware seems to average 5 - 10 posts a day
  • CNET's Web 2.0 Blog sees about 2 posts a week
  • Articles posted on the "2.0 Blog" are posted on Webware (check it out here and here), but comments are still blog specific.
  • On the homepage for the site, Webware states it's purpose: "Say No to boxed software! The future of applications is online delivery and access. Software is passé. Webware is the new way to get things done."
  • The CNET Web 2.0 Blog gives no explanation of Web 2.0 on its site.

The most striking difference between the two sites is the change of tone in the posts. Webware posts seem to talk to non-2.0-insiders, in a language Real Users can understand. In a post yesterday about a new analytics feature at Widgetbox, Webware author Josh Lowensohn said,

Today Widgetbox launched its new syndication metrics service for widget developers. Fancy name aside, this service lets users keep track of how many visitors are using the Widgetbox widgets on their MySpace profile, their Web site, or any other online location.

In this paragraph, you find a distinct effort to make Web 2.0 understandable. This is aparent in the "Say No to boxed software" line I referenced above. Clearly, Webware is CNET's attempt to do something much needed: bridge the gap between the geeks the talk about "Web 2.0" and the people that ultimately use "Web 2.0" products.

In this spirit, Webware is a long time coming. While I can rely on 2.0 standards such as TechCrunch, GigaOm and VentureBeat, my recommendation to non-industry-embeded folks is to rely on Webware for all your needs. It covers everything that's going on in the 2.0 space, and it manages to do so in a way that respects its readers without talking down to them. Quite frankly, I'd call them the Walt Mossberg of 2.0 reporting.

Anybody else been reading these guys?