An excellent post over on Smoothspan discusses wht the best strategy for web companies is – being a platform, a destination or a service. Bob writes that;
These days, you can’t just be a web site, and you’re likely not successful enough to be a platform, so you need to make sure you can be a service on someone else’s platform or destination web site.
The logical solution is to be a vanilla offering that is readily ensconced on anyone else’s platform. Bob uses Twitter as an example – how many people twitter at twitter.com versus how many use their API from other platforms.
It’s a difficult one – picking which platform to partner with is hard, playing neutral is hard (becuase platforms have power, call the shots and want to be trated special) and the moetization on a service sitting within a platform is pretty limited. As bob points out though;
Every site can’t be a destination. It is probably better to take sloppy seconds than not to exist at all. But have no illusions about building a huge business around this stuff. I think it will be very hard.