1. Back in the day when the internet was first invented, it was an exciting time, filled with optimism and potential. Websites were often about sharing one’s voice and ideas. Forum websites started to let many people with similar interests communicate and share ideas. Other than technologies focused on communicating, most sites had a 1-to-many relationship. One person or company would post content, and many visitors would come to consume it. Ecommerce online stores, blogs, helpful tools, guides, directories, business marketing sites…
  1. “Web 2.0” the same internet is before. This is just a popularized term. It’s characterized by the mainstream use of social networks and other sophisticated technologies. Not just forums and chatrooms, but sophisticated online communities. Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, StackOverlow, Github, ProductHunt, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Something that also matured is the use of bots to harvest content from Web1 sites, and people getting good at ignoring online advertisements. Unfortunately, this combination made most Web1 sites ad-supported business models no longer viable. Now, advertisers could not easily tell how much of website traffic was real humans, and how much of it was bots. Also, people stopped clicking advertisements, so pay-per-view ads stopped paying good money. Instead, all advertising started paying only per click, or even per lead or sale.
  1. “Web3” is a bit different. It’s currently a financial technology that utilizes the internet rather than a progression of the internet. It’s more for banking, money transfers, fundraising, and managing shared ownership than sharing content and ideas. But it is revolutionary, and will affect the internet. In the context of websites, it’s an alternative way to monetize the website experience, service, or social network rather than advertising. It’s also an alternative to raising capital. With Web3 crypto “coins”, anyone is able to buy stock in anything. People can buy stock in a website, a tech company, a digital product, or an organization (like the one made of hundreds of people that almost succeeded in buying a copy of the US constitution). It has potential to leverage everybody’s computers to create a decentralized network of web servers and databases working together to host and manage new types of web services, but that has not been proven yet. Most NFTs are actually not even using Web3 for hosting or the digital product, but still use Web1. But as this technology matures, in theory it is possible for it to replace the infrastructure of the current internet. It will still use the underlying technologies like TCP/IP.