Right now, I'd wager that to get VC money, you'll have to do it. Within a year, most webapps will have to do it just to keep pace. Two years from now, no one will even think about building an application without it.
I just read through a VC pitch that was made recently, and it's even worse than I thought. The proposal was strewn with all the latest jargon. Here are some of the keywords that show up no less than 10 times in the 20 slides: RSS, AJAX, Open Source, Community Forums, Podcasting, Blogging, Tagging, and Photo/Video/Audio Sharing. It was absolutely stunning.
Now, I don't know the viability of the business model. There are dozens and dozens of services that do various pieces and even all of it. Is the market saturated? I couldn't tell you. [Disclosure: I have worked on a similar site in the past, but I don't know and don't care to know any of the operating details, revenue, etc.] The thing that stuns me about the pitch was the sheer dripping with techno-jargon when I know for a fact that none of the people involved have the slightest clue on the implementation. Over on CodeSnipers yesterday, the highly esteemed Duane pointed out that Execution Matters. It means simply that an idea alone has some value, but making it happen is the important part.
Compare GoogleMaps and Mapquest. Both provide web-based address lookup and driving directions. Which is better?
Compare GMail and Yahoo/Hotmail. Both provide web-based email. Which is better?
Obviously Google has some sharp people working for them. They took some relatively simple concepts that had been around for years, implemented the concepts in a unique and innovative way, and now they own the space in under a year. The took all the nifty techno-jargon and actually did something amazing… RSS, AJAX, etc were simply the tools to get them there.