Tuesday marks the launch of FM’s Signal conference series, where we focus on one topic, one day, in one city. For our first event, in Los Angeles, we’ve always had a great lineup, but recent events have certainly made it even more timely.
The event has been sold out since last week, but given the weekend’s news, I’ve convinced our events director to allow people to register at the door. It will probably be standing room only, but it’ll be a great show. The focus, appropriately, is on the role of content in marketing.
We’ll begin the day with Arianna Huffingon, who just last night announced the sale of the Huffington Post to AOL. Joining Arianna will be AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who is making a surprise visit so as to outline his $315 million vision for combining the two entities. I’ve interviewed both onstage, but not together. Should be a good discussion.
We’ll then pivot into a Case Study from the newly public Demand Media, and then a conversation with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. From there we’ll dive deeper into the content strategies of both AOL and MSN, hear Case Studies from Gatorade and Moxie Interactive, learn about some of the most promising
startups in LA, hear from YouTube on branded entertainment, and American Express on OPEN Forum.
And that’s just before lunch. When we return, we’ll hear from the CMO of Adobe, who I’ll be interviewing. After that is a Case from the irrepressible Jason Calacanis, a Case from Toyota, an overview of Intuit’s massive gamble last month (they bought out thre
e hours of prime time programming), Cases from Appsavvy,Yahoo, and Slideshare, and then a conversation with Peter Guber, a Hollywood legend who’s just coming out with another major book.
After Peter, we’ll hear a Case from Facebook, and then we’ll close with a conversation with will.i.am, who will be fresh off his Superbowl performance with the Black Eyed Peas. That’ll give us something to talk about.
Even though the event is essentially sold out (I’m told we can sell only a couple dozen tickets at the door), we are working on livestreaming it so that everyone can join the dialog. Check the FM events page for more on that later in the day.
(cross posted from FM blog)
Most of you know by now that I do a short summary of the day’s news over on the FM Blog. This year I’m going to try to do a Friday summary of the week’s Signals here on Searchblog. Here’s the first of the year:
If you want Signal each day, sign up for the email newsletter on the site (top right), or grab the RSS Feed.
Have a great weekend!
In the eighth version of my annual predictions, I’ll try to stay focused and clear, the better to score myself a year from now. And while I used the past two weeks of relatively fallow holiday time as a sort of marination period, the truth is I pretty much just sat down and banged these predictions out in one go, just as I have the past seven years. It works for me, and I hope you agree, or at least find them worth your time. So here we go:
1. We’ll see the rise of a meme which I’ll call “The Web Reborn” – a response to the idea that mobile and apps have killed the web as we know it. In fact, we’ll come to realize that the web is the foundation of nearly everything we do, and we’ll start to expect, as consumers, that all our service providers honor and build in basic principles of “web friendliness” – data portability and user-controlled identity most important among them. Call it a return to the original principles of “Web 2.0″.
2. Voice will become a critical interface for computing (especially mobile apps). This is just not true now, but in a year’s time, there will be a handful of very popular apps that are driven by voice, and in particular, by weaving together voice, text, and identity.
3. DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) will fade into the fabric of larger marketing platforms. In the end, DSPs are the handle by which we understand the concept of technology-driven ad networks. And those have been with us for over a decade. Exchanges, DSPs, SSPs, etc. are all important, but in the end, what matters is that advertisers have scale and efficiency, and consumers have control.
4. Related, MediaBank will emerge as a major independent player in the marketing world, playing off its cross channel reach (outside of digital) and providing an alternative to the conflicted digital platforms at Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo. I could imagine a major tech or telco player trying to buy MediaBank as the world realizes that marketing is, in essence, a massive IT business (among many other things).
5. The Mac App Store will be a big hit, at least among Mac users, and may well propel Mac sales beyond expectations.
6. Related, Apple will attempt to get better at social networking, fail, and cut a deal with Facebook.
7. Also related, Apple will begin to show signs of the same problems that plagued Microsoft in the mid 90s, and Google in the past few years: Getting too big, too full of themselves, and too focused on their own prior success.
8. Microsoft will have a major change in leadership. I am not predicting Ballmer will leave, but I think he and the company will most likely bring in very senior new talent to open new markets or shift direction in important current markets like media/marketing/social.
9. The public markets will be surprisingly open to major new Internet deals, despite the current rise of “private IPOs” and the growing belief that the IPO process is broken. In the end, there’s just too many good reasons for public companies to be, well, public. (See Gurley).
10. The tablet market will have a year of incoherence. Apple will dominate with the iPad due to a lack of an alternative touchstone. Google will focus on providing a clear, consistent experience through Android for tablets and mobile, but it will take a third party to unify the experience. I don’t see that happening this year.
11. “Social deals” will morph to become a standard marketing outlet for all business, and by year’s end be seen as a standard part of any marketer’s media mix. Groupon will lead here, but nearly every major player will have an offering, often by partnering with leaders. I’m tempted to say Facebook will abandon its own Deals offering for a deal with Groupon, but I’m not sure that will unfold in one year.
12. Related, Groupon will fend off an acquisition by a major carrier, probably AT&T or Verizon. It’s possible they’ll sell, but I doubt it.
13. Facebook will decline as a force in the Internet world, as measured by buzz. The company will continue to be seen as Big Brother in the press, and struggle with internal issues related to growth. Also, it will lose some attention/share to upstarts. However, its share of marketing dollars and reach will increase.
14. Related, we’ll see major privacy related legislation in the US brought to the floor of Congress, and then fail for lack of consensus. But that will drive a significant shift in how our culture understands its relationship to the world our industry is building, and that’s a good thing.
I’d love to keep going, but I think those are the major ones, at least from my vantage point. Thanks for reading, it was a great year. I’m not going to make predictions about my own work this year, as I’ve got too much inside knowledge on that topic! Let me know your thoughts in comments, and have a great 2011!
In my prediction #7 from last year: Traditional search results will deteriorate to the point that folks begin to question search’s validity as a service.
I gave myself a “fail” on this when I graded myself last week. But Anli makes a case in “THREE’S A TREND: THE DECLINE OF GOOGLE SEARCH QUALITY”.
As for 2011 predictions, I’m working on that right now, and hope to have them out later today.
Well, it’s that time of year again, time to see how well, or poorly, I did predicting events in the past year. This is my “keep myself honest” post, next week, I hope, I’ll post my predictions for 2011.
So how did I do for 2010? Overall, I’d say it was a mixed year, but by my score, I hit 7 of 12, with 3 pushes and two outright fails. A fair amount is open to interpretation, as we will see. To the results:
Prediction #1: 2010 will mark the beginning of the end of US dominance of the web. This is a pretty soft one to prove, but I think it’s certainly defensible. First of all, the “rest of the world” is growing far more quickly than the US in terms of Internet use, growth, and related development. In the broader economy, China looms large, and is already far larger than the US in Internet population. In terms of startups, I’d have to say we’re not there yet – the US is still the center of innovation, at least for scaled platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Groupon. But I only predicted that this would be the *start* of this shift, so I’d say the jury is out on whether I was right. But hey, Fred agrees with me…Score: Push.
Prediction #2: Google will make a corporate decision to become seen as a software brand rather than as “just a search engine.” I think this clearly happened in 2010. With both Android and Google Apps in the center of its strategy, Google and its partners poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building the Google brand to mean “an excellent software platform” and next to nothing (OK, one Superbowl ad) into the brand meaning “Search.” Score: +1.
Prediction #3: 2010 will see a major privacy brouhaha, not unlike the AOL search debacle but around social and/or advertising related data. OK, maybe this was a layup, but wow, did this come true, in spades. Take your pick, was it Google’s Street View data collection? Or maybe Facebook’s half-year long meltdown, beginning with sharing all data with search, and ending with the Open Graph? (Not to mention Google Buzz!) In any case, privacy has become the center of attention in Washington, with multiple investigations and pending legislation all brewing, in particular around social and advertising data. 2010 will be remembered as the year privacy took center stage. Score: +1.
Prediction #4: By year’s end the web will have seen a significant new development in user interface design. Well, again, I think this one happened. Not only did Gawker “redefine” what a blog is, the rise of the tablet and touch interfaces, as well as shifts to gestural in gaming (Kinect) have shifted how the web is consumed and produced. 2010 was most certainly the year the web pivoted from boring old HTML to a new approach to user interface based on touch and gesture, not to mention voice (which is coming hard on touch’s heels). Score: +1.
Prediction #5: Apple’s “iTablet” will disappoint. I know, I know, it sure seems like I blew this one. But remember folks, the iPad did in fact disappoint, nearly everyone, when it was announced. It was pretty much universally panned for not having a camera, being the wrong size, being a self-contained universe that shunned the open web, Flash, etc. So in a way, I was right. Then again, the thing went on to be the biggest hit since the iPod, so I was wrong too. I’d score this a push.
Prediction #6: 2010 will see the rise of an open gaming platform. Alas, this did not happen. I thought Microsoft would open up Kinect, as the technology has massive potential. So far, it has not, and no one else has done anything either. Score: -1.
Prediction #7: Traditional search results will deteriorate to the point that folks begin to question search’s validity as a service. I think it’s hard to argue with the overall decline in search results as a core driver of web navigation. Social is clearly on the upswing, and in general, the rise of content farms and the stirrings of data wars between Google and Facebook have meant that search is no longer the presumed king of the web. However, I don’t think it got as bad as I predicted it would, so I give myself a fail on this one, but I predict I’m right here in the long run. Here’s more on why. Score: -1.
Prediction #8: Bing will move to a strong but distant second in search, eclipsing Yahoo in share. This happened, depending on who’s counting, and if you take the Yahoo/Microsoft search deal into account, it clearly happened. Score: +1.
Prediction #9: Internet advertising will see a sharp increase…and most predictive models are not accounting for this rise. I was right on this one as well. Not only did online spend eclipse newspaper spend, but online suprised most forecasters with significant double digit (14% at least) Y/Y growth. By comparison, overall ad spending grew just 3% in the US. That’s sharp by my book. Score: +1.
Prediction #10: The tech/Internet industry will see a surge in quality IPOs. Well, I thought this one would be a layup, and instead, it’s at the very least a push. We did have a surge in filings, but we did not see a ton of companies go public, though compared to 2009, one could easily call this year’s lineup a relative surge. It was the busiest IPO year (overall) since 2007, but we did not see action where we might have expected – from Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, or even companies like MediaBank. We did see important filings from Hulu, Betfair, Demand and Skype, but neither have made it out so far. In fact, I did make another related prediction: one, if not more will be withdrawn. That happened, just this month, with Hulu. I’d score this one a push.
Prediction #11: We’ll see a major step forward in breaking the man/machine barrier. I honestly don’t know if this came true. I do know that when machines can translate poetry, and the creation of synthetic life, the strong advances in gene sequencing, and the reprogramming of cells, we’re certainly making progress. I’m out of my depth here, so readers, did this prediction come true or not?! For now, I’ll punt and call it a push.
Prediction #12: I’ll figure out what I want to do with my book. Yep, I’ve figured it out. More on that early next year. Score: +1.
So, overall, 3 pushes, 2 fails, and 7 wins. That’s not a bad year. How do you think I did?
I’m pleased to announce that the preliminary agenda for our first ever Signal conference, Signal LA, is live and online. Signal is FM’s conference series highlighting one major trend in digital media and marketing, in one city, on one day.
First up is Los Angeles, Feb 8th, with a focus on Content Marketing. Check out the amazing lineup:
Register today, I expect this to sell out. I’m thrilled to be doing more of these high quality events next year. It’s going to be a lot of fun. And it doesn’t hurt that we’re doing Signal LA at the SLS Hotel, which is pretty much the best place going at the moment….
This has become something of a tradition at Searchblog (well, OK, it’s the second time in three years), in which I review the year in posts and note those of which I am particularly proud. For me it’s a way to remember what I’ve been on about, and catalog some of my sketches for further work (perhaps as a book, ahem).
So in chronological order, here are the posts I liked from these past 12 months, with some commentary as well:
Predictions 2010 I’ll be getting to this in a post later this week.
Search Getting Worse? What Did I Mean?! I wrote a series on this. This is a summary.
Google’s Tortured History With China In which the eventual unraveling of Google’s business in China began.
The Evolving Search Interface: Mobile Drives Search As App Or why mobile is a major threat to Google, and why Google responded with Android.
Why The Apple iPad Will Disappoint (The Obama Effect) I was wrong about the iPad being a dud, but not wrong about it disappointing me. It pretty much made everyone else happy, but I don’t like it mainly for the politics of it. And it did disappoint nearly everyone when it was announced, but then became a major hit. As to why I was unhappy: The Tuesday Signal: Birth of Another Orifice
Google Rolling Out Social Search: But Does It Leverage Facebook? Glimmerings of what has become a full out data sharing war between the rivals.
Thursday Signal: Are You Checked In? I realize, in this post, that checking in is a new field in the Database of Intentions.
Updated: Google to Air “Search Stories” Ad During Super Bowl… My big scoop of the year. Sigh, I guess Searchblog isn’t much of a news outlet, is it?!
The Thursday Signal: Is Google Losing Its Customer Focus? In which I determine it is, based on Buzz.
I Don’t Like The iPad Because… I guess I had to keep hammering on this. This is about how the iPad is loved by all traditional media because of its locked distribution model.
Friday Signal: The Web Gets Its Wisdom Teeth (We Hope) An extension of my MOLRS riff: Weds. Signal – “Local-Mobile-RealTime”: Re-imagining Social
Why I Like Working With Marketers Because it makes me smarter.
Oh Looky! It’s Video of Bloody Jesus! (Nevermind the Facts) This year I seem to have become a cranky old journalism professor. This is one of a number rants on how bad some journalism has gotten. Also this one: Google v. China? No, It’s Bigger Than That
Toward a New Understanding of Publishing (Part 1) Cross posted from the FM blog. My first organized thoughts on brands as publishers.
My Location Is A Box of Cereal In which I expand on the idea of the check in as an important new Signal.
The 2010 Web2 Summit Theme: Points of Control Introducing the theme of this year’s event.
The Signal – Instrumenting Our Social Lives The idea of “instrumentation” is introduced and explored. I’ve used this framing all year long.
Video Chat on the Plane? Illegal? OK? Legal Gray Area? Turns out, it depends, but another example of pushing cultural and legal boundaries.
Database of Intentions Chart – Version 2, Updated for Commerce The definitive chart, at least for now. Based on: The Database of Intentions Is Far Larger Than I Thought
Brands As Publishers – Part 2 Second in the series started above.
Foursquare – I Wish It Was Better For Me… And I still do.
Twitter To Roll Out “Promoted Tweets”: Initial Thoughts (Developing) My first take on Twitter’s long anticipated business model.
An Open Letter to Apple Regarding The Company’s Approach to Conversation with Its Peers and Its Community Everyone came to speak at Web 2, except Apple. This was my plea. It went unanswered.
Twitter’s “Public Interest Graph” My take on the value and signal Twitter is starting to create.
On Google’s Brand I point out that the brand is starting to mean too much and not enough.
The Gap Scenario I use this all the time now as a talking point around MOLRS.
The iAd: Steve Jobs Regifts The Mobile Marketing Experience I was not impressed.
Google’s New Mission? “To Organize the World’s information (Unless It Starts With “i”) …..” Google don’t play in Apple’s “Planet of the Apps.”
Fear Is A No No – Except at Night My thinking out loud about being a CEO and a leader. Got a lot of response to this.
The ROI of iAds – A Lot of Unanswered Questions And still unanswered, far as I can tell.
Five Years In One Place, An Appreciation It really is amazing that I love my work after five and one half years.
Is The iPad A Disappointment? Depends When You Sold Your AOL Stock. In which I attempt to explain my POV on the device, again.
Of Course Apple Is Going to Do Search. But not search as you know it today.
It’s Official – Apple Kicking Google Out of iWorld Wow, 91 comments, one of the largest responses this year…
Is Apple’s iWorld “The Web”? In which I tell a story about my son…
Will Google Compete With Facebook? Er…It Already Is, Folks. It’s not if, it’s not when, it’s how.
Is Yahoo Dead? I Don’t Think So. Who Else With This Scale Can Be Neutral? My defense of Yahoo, which six months later, I stand by, though I can’t say the company is looking healthy.
On Facebook, Google, and Our Evolving Social Mores Online I go a lot deeper into the concept of Instrumentation here.
Search, Foursquare, and Checking Into States of Mind How a checkin is like search, if you redefine both a bit. Example: Checking into the state of mind of “wanting to buy a car.”
What Means This, To “Go Google”!? It means the brand isn’t about search alone.
Second (Day) Thoughts on Google-Verizon Framework – Isn’t This All About Android? Or maybe, GoogleTV *and* Android. Or Maybe It’s Really About (Google) TV…
AT&T Weighs In: Trust Us, We Know What You Want More thoughts on the net neutrality debate.
Finding a Yogurt Shop A Mile Away: I’m Not Feeling Lucky. An old school rant on the state of search.
Is Google Objective? No. Well, maybe. Sort of. Depending on your point of view.
Web 2 Summit Points of Control: The Map I am very proud of this work.
On Retargeting: Fix The Conversation In which I propose a solution. That Was Fast: TellApart Implements A Searchblog Suggestion In which that solution is implemented.
More Thoughts On Demand: A Referendum of Sorts on Google and Social My longish take on Demand’s IPO and business.
Nielsen: Bing Overtakes Yahoo In Search Share Proving my prediction true…
Stop It. Google Won’t Buy Twitter. And why I thought that. One of the most tweeted posts of the year (wonder why).
Identity and The Independent Web One of my longer pieces, and probably more important than most as well, in that it starts to frame a bigger idea – that of revealed identity as well as the concept of dependent and independent webs. FM, as you might expect, plans on being the most important media company in the independent web space, while working well with the leaders of the dependent web.
All Brands Are Politicians More of my thinking about what it means to be a brand in the context of today’s web.
Mark Zuckerberg at Web 2 – A Maturing CEO The most replayed stream of the Web 2 Summit. My writing suffers in October and November due to the work of Web 2 (well, honestly, it suffers all year long). But the output is almost worth it. However, I must say, I can’t both write a book, run FM, and run Web 2. Something will have to give.
Groupon Is Worth More Than $2.5 Billion My first post on Groupon, not my last.
Twitter’s Great Big Problem Is Its Massive Opportunity Twitter at another inflection point, a critical one. This one was third or so in retweets.
In Google’s Opinion…. My continuing exploration of the concept of objectivity in search and algorithms.
Is RSS Really Dead? No, apparently not, as this post got the most comments of the year.
Social Editors and Super Nodes – An Appreciation of RSS And it led to this post, which really crystalized my thinking about a key attribute of the social web.
Why Wouldn’t Google Mirror Wikileaks? Because no one wants to be the target of banks and major governments, I suppose.
Signal, Curation, Discovery The more time I spend in this industry, the more I enjoy writing about it.
Thinking Out Loud: What’s Driving Groupon? Second in retweets and still going.
That’s it – quite a lot of writing when you sum it all up. I was a bit bummed out during the year that I was not writing enough, and honestly, there are scores of posts I wish I had the time to create. While 50,000 or so words ain’t bad, it’s not what I’d like to do. So this coming year, I’ll be doing more, that much I can promise. And reviewing the work above does lead me to some promising conclusions about where “the next book” is going. And that makes me grateful for this site, and for your time. Thank you.
I’m pleased to formally announce Federated Media’s upcoming Signal Series – three full-day conferences in three great cities. Born from FM’s annual Conversational Marketing Summit and my daily Signal newsletter, the Signal conference series focuses on one key topic in one city at a time. These three events will culminate in our annual CM Summit in New York next June during Internet Week.
We’ve nearly completed the program for the first event – Signal LA. The event is February 8th at the SLS Hotel (it’s quite nice!). The focus, as befits an event in LA, is content marketing, one of the more talked about trends in brand marketing today. Our speaker line-up, as I hope you’ve come to expect, is stellar, and we’re really excited for what we’re sure will be an interesting, informative and impactful day. Please join us!
Confirmed speakers for Signal LA include:
Luke Beatty, VP & GM, Associated Content Yahoo!
Joanne Bradford, Chief Revenue Officer, Demand Media
Deanna Brown, COO, Federated Media
Chris Cunningham, CEO / founder, appssavvy
Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post
Peter Guber, Chairman & CEO, Mandalay Entertainment
Ann Lewnes, SVP Global Marketing, Adobe
Joel Lunenfeld, CEO, Moxie Interactive
Suzie Reider, Director of Sales and Marketing, YouTube
Rashmi Sinha, Founder, Slideshare
Biz Stone, Co-founder, Twitter
will.i.am, Founder, Dipdive and Black Eyed Peas
We’re still adding great speakers, so watch our site for more updates.
Signal is produced for senior decision makers in the Internet, media, and marketing businesses. If you’re involved in the digital media ecosystem, you belong at Signal. Sign up today.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my Signal newsletter, which I do each day. Here’s the last week or so of them. If you want to read it in RSS, here’s the feed: