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Catching the Web 2.0 wave

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Over the past few weeks, at internal management meetings and various advertising media and Internet events in New York, the conversation has turned to the new world of social media, blogs, video, podcasts and RSS.

This is truly a new chapter in what I heard described by Beth Comstock, president of NBC Universal Digital Media and market development, as "large media" (us) and "small media" (consumers/users). The question becomes, who is in charge? And then, how do we charge?

Do we dive headfirst into social media? Do we start Facebook and MySpace for our vertical industries? As revenue is pouring into the Internet channel, we have so much to gain yet so much to lose.

I am always glad to hear success stories about companies that have developed strong franchises and revenue streams online. This issue looks at how many companies develop lead gen programs for advertisers and looks closely at the webinar business.

Webinars and white paper downloads achieve closer conversations with our readers and make an easy rationale for spending money with us. Blogs and podcasts, whether featuring our own people or giving our readers an opportunity to talk, are the next wave we need to catch. These are tactics marketers are using—and our readers are using—so lets find a way to work with them.

But when it comes to the growing social media world, we still have to figure out where the money will be. Stay tuned, we may be launching BtoBfaces soon!

Bob Felsenthal can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.

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