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Online experts are urging businesses to ignore the hype over the buzz term ‘Web 2.0′, and concentrate instead on the changing face of online consumerism.

An expert industry panel fielding representatives from Conchango, Pearson, Play.com and Ogilvy Interactive conceded yesterday that there was much "noise" surrounding the term Web 2.0, with suggestions that it is mere marketing hype.

However, the panel concluded that the hype is obscuring an undeniable fact that the global public is "experiencing a significant shift in the way it consumes information, products and services".

There is significant disagreement over what Web 2.0 means, but in its original form the term was used to describe the generation of successful web-based activity that followed the bursting of the dot-com bubble at the end of 2001.

In yesterday’s announcement panel expert Graham Benson of Play.com said: "Web 2.0 is confirmation that the Web is now mainstream. It is not a peripheral activity.

"It is not something people find to do occasionally. It has become an integral part of their lives."

The head of interactive media at Conchango concurred, commenting that businesses are currently stuck in a confidence gap, and failing to cater properly internet savvy customers.

"While the general public are indicating to pull into the fast lane, owners are still on the hard shoulder," he said.