A business model approach to Web 2.0

Sebastian Schröder

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates and offers insides on how businesses can monetize elements of Web 2.0. Further, the thesis is focused on the combination of Web 2.0 elements with conventional commerce. Despite the increasing interest in Web 2.0, the main discussion in scientific literature is on the technical side. Web 2.0 however facilitates new ways of interacting, communicating and doing business. The thesis reviews exiting and acknowledged theory on the study of Web 2.0. The theory on Web 2.0 is used in order to build the fundament of the research and develops an understanding of the phenomenon of Web 2.0. A contribution is made to the theoretical and conceptual groundwork of Web 2.0. As the analysis of how to monetize Web 2.0 further requires a fundamental logic of how to generate profits, the thesis studies business models. Despite the increasing interest in business models, the research is at a relatively early stage. In turn the thesis contributes further to the study. The thesis develops a theoretical framework in order to utilize the existing theory. Additionally, the thesis integrates the studies on Web 2.0 and business models. The thesis develops a categorization of different Web 2.0 business models. Based on the framework as well as casual relationships and variables found in the existing theory, the thesis progresses a hypothesis in the form of a business model proposition. Subsequently the adequacy of the framework is tested as means to explain the findings. The thesis uses a case study on the daily deal business model to test the hypothesis and contribute to the practical and theoretical understanding of how to monetize Web 2.0. Finally the thesis concludes the following: Combining elements of commerce with Web 2.0 generates great potential for its monetization. Crowdsourcing and user generated content can leverage the customer relationship and support the segmentation. Further, social networks and applications are of great value to the distribution channel. As Web 2.0 treats the users as codevelopers and relies on various affiliate models, business models gain from their partnership network. Businesses can use Web 2.0 for their core capabilities as well as for the value configuration. User generated content, crowdsourcing and network effects can further decrease the operating costs. Business can generate various revenue streams out of Web 2.0. As businesses integrate Web 2.0 elements successfully across all sectors of their business model, they can create a value proposition. The business can in turn commercialize this value proposition in order to monetize the elements of Web 2.0.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages94