Major events, past and future
Catalin asks a bunch of bloggers, myself included, three questions: which was the biggest story of the Romanian Internet in 2006; what will be 2007 known as — if 2006 was the year of the blog; and what personal plans or projects I have related to Internet.
Because I am certainly not an Internet industry insider — nor even an acknowledged outsider — I don’t think I can give a competent answer. However, I'll tackle the first question from a subjective angle that may be of interest.
For me, 2006 was the year the first entrepreneur envisioned and developed an Internet product not as a web site/Internet service, but as a brand. I am talking about Metropotam1, an innovative city-guide weblog about Bucharest, whose identity and tone of voice were specifically designed for a certain audience.
Common knowledge says that Internet is an elusive beast whose quirky nature makes communities hard to build in any other way but from a grassroots level, with spectacularly limited control over the process, relying only on the code, the looks and a couple of coarse-grained marketing tools.
Metropotam (coined from “metropolis/metropola” and “hippopotamus/hipopotam” — the witty, self-ironic urban creature) employed some pretty sophisticated tools (brand rhetoric and an avatar, to mention a couple) to achieve differentiation and emotional bond.
And it worked. Meeting one of Metropotam’s founders at a cup of tea a couple of days ago I was happy to learn that the stats are good and climbing while the community grows.
1 Full disclosure: Metropotam — the brand — was developed by Brandient.