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Imagine getting a new laptop computer during the holidays -- starting it up and automatically having your personal files, pictures and address books at your finger tips without ever having to transfer or load a single application or document. With a few clicks and a single login, your information is right there. Or think about how fast and easy it would be to collect your favorite applications, files, music, photo volumes and more -- digitally save and maintain them in a single remote location and then be able to access all of them from any handheld or computer anytime and anywhere.

Sound intriguing? What makes these scenarios even more compelling is that they are more than interesting ideas. They will be pervasive in a few years with the evolution of Web 3.0 and cloud computing. The implications of this shift are far reaching for not only consumers but also businesses, especially software publishers and other high-tech companies that have a significant Web presence. In fact, the paradigm for e-commerce and the business models that support it have already started to change.

While the path to Web 3.0 -- like its predecessors Web 1.0 and 2.0 -- is going to be more of journey rather than an event -- it is a journey, nonetheless, that is certain to unfold.

It was not long ago that Web 1.0 came along. Early in 2000, Web 1.0 was all about putting up a Web site. Connectivity varied. Many people had dial ups and bimodal communication was difficult. Software publishers were some of the earliest adopters of Web 1.0, testing multi-channel business strategies by launching online stores and going direct-to-consumer for the first time. At the same time, service provider models emerged as the computing industry began moving away from client server software to test software-as-a-service models. In this environment, innovative companies like Digital River, a leading e-commerce provider, saw a unique opportunity to provide hosted online services to help companies more efficiently manage traditional business processes. In this case, Digital River was focused on the purchase and delivery of software over the Web-born was the software download.

Gradually, Web 2.0 came on the scene. Over the last few years, it has changed the nature of the Internet. Supported by the rapid adoption of broadband super-speed connections, bimodal communication has become a standard. With the introduction of Web 2.0, the Internet has become much more than a destination to make an online purchase. It has become a gathering place where social communities are formed, personal information is shared, and people dialogue and reconnect with old acquaintances. The launch of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have taken on mass appeal among end users. With their growing traffic base, it did not take long for these highly interactive sites to become a popular e-marketing channel for e-businesses looking for inexpensive and creative ways to reach consumers and promote their products.


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