So what does Lightweight Models and Cost-effective Scalability mean? Rather than engaging a large software development team to create a complex product – they engage small teams and release functionality in increments. Instead of a large marketing budget they rely word of mouth and viral marketing. They also choose to outsource and utilise open sourced wherever possible rather than having the resources to build everything in house. Hardware nowsaday can be outsourced by using a hosting provider, providing low cost space while you are small, and access to server farms as the business takes off. All of these principals fit with the best practices for lightweight and scalable development suggested by Tim O’Reilly.
Digg for example launched in December 2004 with $2,000, a single hosted server ($99 monthly), free open source software, and a ‘pay-as-you-go’ outsourced developer ($10 hourly from Elance). By spring of 2006, Digg was serving more than 100 million page views a day, with 90 servers, and a staff size of only 15. Other examples of doing more with less and using viral marketing/advertising are, Google AdSense (advertising solution), Amazon.com, Flickr (photo sharing), YouTube (video sharing), MySpace (social networking), and QOOP (mash-up for photo books and posters).
Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in early 1995 as an email mailing list of mainly social events of interest to software and Internet developers in the San Francisco area. It soon grew to accommodate user’s needs such as new job listings and other classified advertisements. The Craigslist website began in 1996 and today the site design is still simple without any pictures. It now incorporates international cities with classified sections such as, community, housing, jobs, for sale, personals, discussion forums, services, and gigs.
“Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told Wall Street analysts that Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit, instead it prefers to help users find cars, apartments, jobs, and dates.” It is a popular free online classifieds site which uses the ‘lightweight models and cost-effective scalability’ competently.
Therefore the philosophy behind developing for Web 2.0 is “less is more”. Its objectives are simplicity and efficiency. Software start-up companies are requiring minimal funding to design Web applications that do one thing, do it well, and are not top-heavy with ancillary features.