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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


[Here is an excellent report from the OECD on what they call the participative web which explores the economic impacts of the new Web 2.0 and web service tools for users being part of a business or creative process. I personally believe the participative web will have a big impact on all sort of activities from participatory democracy to radically new business models to new ways of doing science and research. Hopefully it will also become a key discussion point for the upcoming OEVD Ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet in Seoul June 2008 -- BSA

The concept of the “participative web” is based on an Internet increasingly influenced by intelligent web services that empower the user to contribute to developing, rating, collaborating on and distributing Internet content and customising Internet applications. As the Internet is more embedded in people’s lives “users” draw on new Internet applications to express themselves through “user-created content” (UCC).

This study describes the rapid growth of UCC, its increasing role in worldwide communication and draws out implications for policy. Questions addressed include: What is user-created content? What are its key drivers, its scope and different forms? What are new value chains and business models? What are the extent and form of social, cultural and economic opportunities and impacts? What are associated challenges? Is there a government role and what form could it take? Definition, measurement and drivers of user-created content There is no widely accepted definition of UCC, and measuring its social, cultural and economicimpacts are in the early stages. In this study UCC is defined as: i) content made publicly available over the Internet, ii) which reflects a “certain amount of creative effort”, and iii) which is “created outside of professional routines and practices”. Based on this definition a taxonomy of UCC types and hostingplatforms is presented. While the measurement of UCC is in its infancy, available data show thatbroadband users produce and share content at a high rate, and this is particularly high for younger age groups (e.g. 50% of Korean Internet users report having a homepage and/or a blog). Given strong network effects a small number of platforms draw large amounts of traffic, and online video sites and social networking sites are developing to be the most popular websites worldwide. The study also identifies: technological drivers (e.g. more wide-spread broadband uptake, new web technologies), social drivers (e.g. demographic factors, attitudes towards privacy), economic drivers [...]