Generating Web 2.0

web20[updated 4/29] Web 2.0 may be one of a kind, but its applications are starting to look rather similar. Sign up for [catchy web20 ap name] a service that lets you [add tags], [share those tags], and [store tags] on the web. Here’s [another catchy name with an R at the end] a service that lets you [meet], [swap], [share] collaboratively in a friendly GUI]. What better tribute to such a phenomenon then to explore some sites that mock this reproducibility.

The idea of mocking this aspect of Web 2.0 is almost as old as Web 2.0 itself. In the process of setting out to build Bunk Magazine’s new Web 2.0 GeNerAtor (which is currently in beta), the search began for previous (1.0 versions) of Web 2.0 generators. [Jeremy supplied me with an extensive list and much of the inspiration for this post.]
Consider the many Web 2.0 generators already in existence:

Jon Paul Davies’ Web 2.0 Generator

This site allows you to pick the background color, the venture capital, and a snappy name so that it can produce a two-tone web page with:

nearly everything: Rounded corners, gradients, XHTML and CSS, a color scheme to make your eyes vomit, a trendy ‘badge’, Google Ads, whitespace galore and a big-ass dorky font. Pop in some AJAX and watch squillions of dollars roll in.

Is this a joke?

Yes and No. I liked the idea of making a Web 2.0 application to generate the foundations of other Web 2.0 applications, but it does hightlight some of the more cliched design elements associated with ‘Web 2.0′.

6footdesigns offers another clever “non-2.0″, which creates the registration page for your customized web app.
If you agree that it is “all about he colour” try The Web 2.0 Secret Weapon, which includes colours grabbed from the logos of prominent web 2.0 sites.’s Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator (beta)

While the previous generator mocks the interface, Web 2.0 BG satirizes the buzz words of web 2.0. While the title is a bit rough, the generated output is quite spot-on, for example:

harness A-list networking or reinvent rich-client ecologies.

But curiously, that’s not the only Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator, there’s also this one from Dack Ragus that includes (in a very ungenerator way) the list of the possibilities.

Empytybottle offers a link to Brownpau’s even more appropriate slogan maker, that produces its output in a tag cloud (which ties in nicely with Jeremy’s work on Tag cloud poetry).

For what is web 2.0 but a sea of folksonomically created user tags? What, indeed?

What’s in a name 2.0?

Jacqueline D. Hamilton offers this Web 2.0 business name generator, showing how formulaic these nonsense syllables can be (ex. Deminiti or Jabberpad — hey, that last one is pretty good.) Or turn to Andrew Woolridge’s Web two point Oh! for a company name and the business model, such as: web-based web services on the desktop.

Once you have that name, you’ll need a log here at Alex P’s Web 2.0 Logo Creater Creatr:

Web 2.0verload.

So here is all these very similar original Web 2.0 pieces, but the parodies cannot outdo the web deux itself. To that end, Jeremy points to Ning. As the site explains:

Ning is a platform for creating your own social networks. Our passion is putting new social networks in the hands of anyone with a good idea. With Ning, your social network can be anything and anyone you want it to be.

You choose a combination of features (videos, blogs, photos, forums, etc.) from an ever growing list of options, you choose how it looks, you decide if it is public or private, you add your brand if you have one, and you enable the people on your network to create their own custom personal profile pages all in one great social network.

With Ning, Web 2.0 has reached the height, nadir, and infinite loop of its own generationality by offering a Web 2.0 sites that generates other Web 2.0 sites (as perhaps all Web 2.0 sites do).The generator is an old web genre and traces its lineage, no doubt, to Christopher Strachey’s Love Letter Generator, which Noah Wardrip-Fruin asserts is the first work of digital literature. The joke generator (with its long-standing ties to Mad Libs) is also an old genre. Bunk’s Web 2.0 generator was largely inspired by this Will Ferrell movie generator.

But what do we make of all this Web 2.0 that heralds us as its makers even as it shapes all that we will make, including our parodies of it and its ever-growing list of web applications?

5 Responses to “Generating Web 2.0”

  1. 1 Kiran

    Interesting post! Essentially you are talking about the fragmentation, besides mushrooming, of Web2.0.

    Cylive ( is a platform that unifies the space to some extent.

  2. 2 Mark Marino

    Thanks, Kiran,

    That’s very true. All of the aps do mean a loss of a shared channel. While some of them feed into one another (the way Diigo can send bookmarks to Furl, and others), their multitude can prohibit social networking even while their interfaces facilitate it.

    The Cylive platform does bring a lot together as does perhaps Splashcast.

  3. 3 Tina

    I understand that these web 2.0 applications can feed into one another but, which one is the most popular and why? I have recently visited to share my favorite apps, and everyone can vote and comment on them. Good way to discuss these and learn about new ones!

  4. 4 Francesco DeParis

    As unlikely as it seems from the outset, I think traditional media companies (TMC) will ultimately rule the web 2.0/New Media space. TMCs will surely become the next VCs.

  1. 1 academhack » Blog Archive » More Web 2.0 Fun

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