Reliability of Web 2.0 services

How much do you (or your business) rely on external applications to go about your everyday business? When something goes wrong, who do you blame, how do you get it fixed and what amount of leverage do you have to get your issues resolved?

It seems that one of the proposals for the new Web 2.0 standards is to rely more on third-party online services, like Gmail, flickr,, wikipedia, etc. But, since most of these services are offered for free (with advertising the main revenue), you are given no assurances as to the quality and uptime of the service. And while I think most of the services strive for 99.99% uptime, accidents do happen.

I think one of the main problems that we will face if/when web 2.0 is achieved is to make sure that the services we will be using are there to stay; but how do we do that if they’re basically services offered by a single company? One way would be to encourage companies offering similar services to come up with a standard API so that the information can easily flow between them, and you can switch from one company to the other as needed. This is a benefit for the consumer, as it makes the uptime of a service a high priority, since any downtime could cause companies to lose its user share. But is this something we will ever see? One can only hope.

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