Verizon’s service mark of the term Mobile Web 2.0


I have had a few emails about this from friends ..

Recently, Verizon put out this press release(pdf) talking of Mobile Web 2.0 and there is an SM(service mark) suffixed after the term Mobile Web 2.0

On reading further, it appears to be nothing more than their portal(walled garden at that!) .. Being called Mobile Web 2.0

Of course, as many of you know, Mobile Web 2.0 is also the title of our book Mobile Web 2.0


a) What does this service mark mean? Does it matter?

b) What does Verizon’s ‘Mobile Web 2.0’ mean

Let’s answer the second question first ..

How can a walled garden portal be called ‘Web 2.0’?


Is Verizon looking to change it’s stripes here?

While we(and especially I) have taken a lot of flak on the Web for my insistence on outlining the synergies between Web 2.0 and Mobility in a definition of Mobile Web 2.0; we at least made some efforts to align with the core ethos of Web 2.0 – for example user generated content, architecture of participation, harnessing collective intelligence etc.

Dressing up a traditional walled garden portal as ‘Mobile Web 2.0’ seems to me, to be capitalising on a buzzword.

On the other hand, I could be seen to be capitalizing on a buzzword myselves!

And that’s not a problem in itself ..

It’s just that – I would wish Verizon were a bit more in tune with the ethos of the Web/Web 2.0/Open standards etc

But in some ways .. This approach is to be expected from an Operator

I have always believed that Mobile Operators don’t ‘get’ Web 2.0 because it directly contradicts their principles of closed, non interoperable systems and this press release is a case in point.

For instance, there is talk of VCAST (music) but not much social networking, user generated content etc etc

And what about the service mark itself?

I don’t think it matters much ..

Neither Tony, nor I have tried to service mark, trademark or in any way control the name ‘Mobile Web 2.0’ – and furthur, We dont believe it can be done!

We have tried to intellectually define this term(drawing from Tim O Reilly’s principles i.e. we have defined a sub meme – rather than the meme itself) and also write a book about it.

The intellectual definition is dependent on its acceptance (or otherwise) within the industry.

Anyone could define their own Web 2.1, Web 2.5, Web 2.9, Web 4.0 and so on .. But the critical element here is the intellectual basis must exist. There in lies the significance of Tim O Reilly’s seven principles(and also our definition of Mobile Web 2.0 – which extends Web 2.0 to Mobility)

Many still don’t accept Tim O Reilly’s definition and his seven principle of Web 2.0 ..

So, at the end of the day, its all going to be about what we, as an industry, think about open standards, Web 2.0, user generated content vs. closed, proprietary, walled gardens, non interoperable standards etc ..

Hence, I wish that Verizon’s interpretation of Mobile Web 2.0 had an intellectual basis and at least some form of acknowledgement to the definition of Web 2.0 itself.

On a more positive note, I hope this may be the start of a more ‘open’ Verizon.Is that the signal being sent by Verizon? I am not sure. I wish it were i.e. Verizon would open up.

A service mark, however, could apply to someone creating a service called ‘Mobile Web 2.0’ and not to a book, a blog, a conference, a magazine etc etc ..

Anyone can write a book about any subject. In fact, I believe that more than one books(and films) of the same title can be created for the same subject

For instance: King Kong – was made in 1933, then again in 1976 and once again in 2005

Which means anyone could write a book on Web 2.0, on Mobile Web 2.0 etc

I think the service mark(for what it’s worth) may impact someone who wanted to create a service called ‘Mobile Web 2.0’

That’s a matter for the lawyers ..

It does not impact us since we have no intention of doing so ..

I hope all this buzz will help sell more books on Mobile Web 2.0 :) and in the next version of Mobile Web 2.0, I will definitely include the Verizon’s Mobile Web 2.0!

Any comments welcome!

Debi Jones also has a good summary in her blog about the attention economy ..

VZW is capitalizing on the existing high attention valuation for the phrase Mobile Web 2.0 and it’s forerunner Web 2.0 which has clearly reached mainstream awareness and has become part of the technology vernacular globally. Applying the concepts of Web 2.0 to mobile data applications began at least 2 years ago as evidenced by a book titled Mobile Web 2.0 published in 2006, 272 mil search results at Google, and 3,164 blog posts as indicated by Google Blogsearch.