December 31st, 2006
The obligatory (self-indulgent) prognostications — in no particular order or degree of certainty:
Major print publication ceases publishing in print
This is inevitable, and the probability increases each year, so it’s a pretty safe prediction — the real tipping point will happen when a publisher convinces top advertisers to value ads on the web-only pub as much (or nearly as much) as they valued the (overpriced) print ads.
Google’s growth slows
This is also inevitable, either because of the law of large numbers or the law of one-tick ponies — expect more moribund results from Google’s offline advertising efforts.
More Web 2.0 companies shut down than launch
Again, inevitable, and part of the natural evolution of the market (bubble or not) — also expect fewer acquisition exits than in 2006 (and certainly none above $1 billion).
Online video advertising grows, but not as fast as everyone would like
In a recent Burst Media survey, “78% of the respondents in the survey said online video ads were intrusive, and 63% said video ads disrupted their Web surfing experience.” No one has come up with a good alternative to pre-roll ads. Plus nobody knows how all of these online video ads that nobody wants to watch are going to get made. Issues aplenty.
RSS use grows but again falls (way) short of mainstream adoption
A major obstacle to RSS adoption has long been the non-user-friendly applications, e.g. all of those XML symbols and RSS links that land unsuspecting users on inscrutable XML pages. Many of those problems will be resolved to a large degree by the integration of RSS into everything that Microsoft puts out. But that still won’t solve the real problem — most people don’t have the time or inclination to organize their media and information consumption around feeds. They want some control, but not if that means managing 100+ feeds. The feed life is for information junkies and will likely remain that way.
Happy New Year.