Web 2.0 features on South African business websites: missing a business opportunity?

Francke, E. & Weideman, M.

Proceedings of The 10th annual Conference on WWW Applications. 3-5 September. Cape Town, South Africa.

Francke, E. & Weideman, M. 2008. Web 2.0 features on South African business websites: missing a business opportunity? Proceedings of The 10th annual Conference on WWW Applications. 3-5 September. Cape Town, South Africa. Online: http://web-visibility.co.za/website-visibility-digital-library-seo/

The purpose of the study was to indicate to South African business that by including Web 2.0 features on their sites, they could benefit from the business potential that Web 2.0 offers. In this research project, an empirical study has been done to determine the extent to which South African business websites have Web 2.0 features. A literature survey has revealed that the World Wide Web has evolved from Web 1.0 which is essentially a passive-user state, to Web 2.0 that is an interactive user experience. This has encouraged a phenomenon known as Digital Social Networking (DSN) where like-minded users share amongst others, information, pictures and movies. This has given rise to the popularity of several DSN sites like Facebook, MXit and Myspace. While much of this DSN has been used for recreational purposes, various international businesses have adapted their conventional websites into interactive DSN websites. These businesses have also indicated some business benefits that they have derived from their transformation to Web 2.0 features. The research methodology included a survey of relevant literature and an empirical study of South African business websites. The sample consisted of the top 100 South African businesses based on their turnover and status in their respective sectors. The results of the survey indicated that 91 of the top 100 companies had websites. Of these 91 companies, only 5.5% had at least one Web 2.0 feature on their website. This survey proves that despite the apparent benefits which can be derived from Web 2.0 applications, South African businesses have been tardy in adopting these technologies. As a conclusion, the study has shown that South African businesses lag behind their international counterparts in transforming their conventional websites into interactive DSN websites. Furthermore, the research has also indicated that as a result of their delay in adapting their websites, South African business has not benefited from the business potential which Web 2.0 offers.
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