ZDNet India - The Web was a demo version and its decade long trial period has just expired. It's time to pay up for the real thing or log off. There is no doubt that USA.NET has sparked off a trend that is bound to affect all Internet users. It is only a matter of time before other popular service providers (Hotmail and Yahoo?) begin charging for basic services. If you're wondering how long it will take for India to catch up, blink not: 123india.com users will have to pay or quit by 1 August ...
Is it any surprise that the Internet has always been symbolised by a cloud? However, technologists should welcome the showers of the commercial Web and look up to see the silver lining:
Web developers wanted
Skilled Web developers will be in demand as it takes new skills to implement new business models. Content sites may offer different levels of access to different users depending on their subscription, which will bank on sound authentication and digital rights management technology. The concept of micropayments may be reintroduced for pay-per-view services, but how do you collect 10 paise from the user for every page viewed or every megabyte downloaded? As the Web goes from free to fee, there will be a new level of complexity at the backend and unforeseen implementation challenges. Web developers, are you ready?
Web designers wanted
So long as the Web was free, people seemed ready to take anything that was thrown at them. That explains the thousands of poorly designed sites and abandoned shopping carts on the Web. However, Web sites that dare to expect users to pay up for services had better conform to strict usability standards. Users must be able to find what they're looking for quickly and easily. The need for adhering to Web design standards cannot be stressed enough. Needless to say, Web designers who know their trade will command renewed respect -- and interesting salaries. (Read related story.)
Web analytics wanted
eWeek reports that the demand for Web analytics -- people who analyze how visitors navigate a Web site -- is poised to explode over the next 5 to 10 years. Web data analysts don't come cheap nor are they easy to find. The duties of these coveted professionals include translating the data of e-business operations, covering everything from the tools visitors use on a Web site to how they navigate from page to page. Using this information, Web analysts rate customer experience and return on investment to determine which Web initiatives should get highest priority. Expected salary range: $54,000 to $110,000 per annum. (Read the report.)
Job security wanted
The commercial Web will bring along with it greater job security for technologists who are in the centre of action. It is so much easier to concentrate on work in a company that has a viable and tested business model ("I offer service, you pay money"). Agree?
What will really happen is something to be watched over time, but it's always fun to guess. What do you think will be the effect on users and technologists as the Web goes from freeware to adware to payware?