The blogosphere was filled with 2006 web predictions, including my own. Looking back at mine, only one or two have come true thus far, but the year is still young. Now that we’ve already got reality for the first quarter of the year, it’s time for some quick End of Q1 Web Predictions for the rest of 2006.
1. Applications are ahead of the curve.
The Web 2.0 world will start to realize that some of the cool applications being built are fantastic, but still ahead of the curve. I think some examples of this are applications that I really like such as Newsvine and Edgeio. They are well made, but I don’t think there are enough sophisticated users yet to make these applications really take off. I’m not saying they won’t, but I think they’ll have slow growth until it really kicks in about two years for them. It’s a reason that it’s sometimes best to keep things simple. Digg took off because it isn’t complicated, it takes a lot more time to figure out how to get the most out of Newsvine.
2. We’re short on attention.
The early adopters that are using all these new web applications only have so much attention, so it will take more users to keep many of these businesses viable and growing. For example, I’ve tried out 10 social bookmarking applications, yet I only have time to use one. My mom will never use one, my daughters are still 10 years away from using one, and the majority of my coworkers in a technology industry still don’t use one. Basically, this means some will crash and burn.
3. The rise of vertical social networks will quicken.
Myspace, Facebook, and their brethren have really taken off over the past year and a quarter. We’re now going to start seeing them tighten some rules to appease advertisers and investors, and growing problems with things like the police, school administrations, and others meddling will stunt growth a bit and make them lose some “coolness”. Combine that with some getting tired of how large and unfocused they are, I think we’re going to see more social networks popping up for specific industries, topics, and areas of interest. Dogster is such an example that’s been around for a while for dog lovers. Joga from Nike/Google is an example of how we’ll start seeing social networks for sports.
4. Facebook will regret turning down $750 million.
I don’t see how they’re worth $1 billion, but maybe I’m wrong. I just feel like they’re not going to be able to get a better offer and should have taken the money while the space was still red hot.
5. MSN will release their contextual product to poor reviews and results.
MSN will release their adCenter contextual network to publishers, and publishers won’t like the experience or the results. It will be the 2nd major company to try and present a great alternative to Adsense that won’t quite deliver.
6. Google Calender will be good, which will be a shock.
Google’s upcoming calendar application will be good, which will be a bit shocking compared to some of their recent product releases which sometimes feel half-finished. 30Boxes will be okay, but others trying to enter the calendar space will be in trouble. What is 30Boxes business model by the way? Getting acquired? Premium options? Ads?
7. Blog networks won’t get acquired, but will realize their income isn’t too bad.
After the About.com and Weblogs Inc. acquisitions there was a whole bunch of blog networks that started up. Whether they were motivated by the acquisitions, I’m not sure, but I don’t think we’re going to see many more networks get acquired by larger players. However, due to multiple streams of income such as advertising, sponsorship, and affiliate programs, the owners will realize that it’s not too bad of a business.
8. Niche Ad Networks Will Start Popping Up
FM Publishing may have been one of the first, and in some ways blog networks are like them, but we’re going to start seeing niche ad networks being created by entrepreneurs who realize that large ad networks can’t focus on getting sites targeted deals in all the various industries out there. It’s not a business to build and flip, but a small team can make some great income by starting an ad network focused on one type of industry or site and maximizing that site’s inventory.
9. Content producers will start to realize the value of microchunking content, monetizing it with built-in ads, and letting it go.
While NBC did the wrong thing in forcing sites to remove the viral hit “Lazy Sunday” Saturdy Night Live video clip, it was a prime example of how microchunked content can spread, and the opportunity that exists for smart content producers. If NBC had immediately placed the clip on their site after the show with an ad or two built into it, they could have made a lot of money from that video being passed all over the web and viewed by millions. Instead, it got put out there without any monetization at all, although NBC still benefitted from the resurgence of interest in Saturday Night Live.
10. Bloggers will complain.
Bloggers will continue to complain about things such as the snarkiness in the blogosphere and what’s going on with their Technorati rating.
That’s it for now, let’s see what develops in the rest of 2006.