Predictions 2007

Yes, I'm at it again, but this year I promise to be a bit more pared down, a bit more to the point. I had nearly 20 predictions last year, I'm hoping that by the time I lift my fingers from the keyboard I'll have a few less. So…


Yes, I’m at it again, but this year I promise to be a bit more pared down, a bit more to the point. I had nearly 20 predictions last year, I’m hoping that by the time I lift my fingers from the keyboard I’ll have a few less. So Happy New Year, and to business:

1. Thanks to Google’s dominance in search and media and a complacent DOJ, Microsoft will buy a better position in online media. Acknowledging that it can’t build it, Microsoft will shop its way into a dominant position. AOL, Yahoo, or IAC will be leading candidates for acquisition. Microsoft will name a strong second in command to Steve Ballmer who will run their entire media division after this acquisition. If that person is not Steve Berkowitz, he will leave.

1. (a) If Microsoft does not buy AOL, Yahoo will, and failing that, AOL will go public, but the IPO will receive a lukewarm review.

2. A major media outlet will predict that the “Web 2.0” bubble has burst or deflated seriously. The prediction will be wrong. I’ve been seeing more and more respected voices out there claiming we’re in a bubble of some sort or another when it comes to “Web 2.0.” I predicted that the meme will have played out in 2006, and I think I was right, but the underlying foundational strength of what created that meme is far too strong to be a bubble or played out.

3. Google will integrate YouTube into its main services. YouTube will be promoted via the “video” tab on Google’s home page. YouTube will keeps its name and domain, but the business/sales end will be interchangeable.

4. Related to this, Google Video Ads will dissappoint until Q4 2007. Why? Because advertisers in video have all sorts of structural reasons to not want to work the way Google wants them to work. Until the Fall of 07, when these differences will be worked out, and Google will have a slam dunk quarter in a form of advertising outside of text ads for the first time in its history.

5. Yahoo will not regain its luster, but will take the steps necessary to do so by the end of the year. I am not seeing anything out of Yahoo that says “radical change.” There is a lot riding on Panama, but even an excellent new platform needs at least a year to get its footing. Hence, I would not predict a banner year for Yahoo, but a rebuilding year, sort of like the 49ers had this year.

6. eBay will have a major change in executive leadership. This feels overdue.

7. Amazon will continue to push beyond ecommerce into web services, the market will punish it for doing so, and by the end of the year Bezos will be forced to defend his investments as his stock takes a hit for those services’ failing to find traction. It’s not that I don’t believe in Jeff’s vision, it’s the track record with things like Alexa and the very real sense I have that the market for what Jeff’s selling is not yet fully baked.

8. There will be a brief, somewhat irrational spurt of acquisitions related to “content”, in particular independent media sites with good demographics and a decent audience profile. I say irrational because by the end of the year, it will be clear why those sites were independent in the first place.

9. Speaking of the content business, it will face a major test as two forces converge to undermine the pageview model: Ajax, on the one hand, and ad blockers on the other. Both will be addressed with alarm and alacrity by industry efforts. By the end of the year, new metrics will emerge to help publishers and marketers understand audience engagement.

10. “Blog 2.0” will become a reality. By this I mean that Version 1.0 blogsites, of which I think Searchblog is a good example, will begin to look dated and fade in comparison to sites that employ better approaches to content management, navigation, intelligent widgets and web services, etc.

11. One major Internet player will really screw up the privacy/trust issue, in a way bigger than even AOL did last year.

12. The Google founders will find themselves the subject of at least one major “takedown” piece in the mainstream media. The piece will claim they have lost touch with the company they founded, that it has outgrown them, and that they have become enamored of the life of the super wealthy – hobnobbing with stars, flying to exotic locations to kite surf, testing fighter jets and the like. This piece is inevitable, in my view.

13. Allow me, for the third year now, to repeat my mobile prediction in the hope it will come true: Mobile will finally be plugged into the web in a way that makes sense for the average user and a major mobile innovation – the kind that makes us all say – Jeez that was obvious – will occur. At the core of this innovation will be the concept of search. The outlines of such an innovation: it’ll be a way for mobile users to gather the unstructured data they leverage every day while talking on the phone and make it useful to their personal web (including email and RSS, in particular). And it will be a business that looks and feels like a Web 2.0 business – leveraging iterative web development practices, open APIs, and innovation in assembly – that makes the leap.

14. Lastly, I will begin work on my second book. Yes, I have an idea…but it’s not entirely fleshed out yet… and, I will stop making predictions about FM. It was fine to do last year, but this year, I feel like the business is in a new place, one that feels wrong to predict. It could go in so many great directions this year, I don’t want to jinx any of them.

Happy New Year to you all, and here’s to a great 2007!

26 thoughts on “Predictions 2007”

  1. John,

    You’re a brave man, making company specific preditions! I’ll keep mine to themes. Details after the jump if you’re interested.

    1. Ecommerce 2.0 arrives

    2. Social Network widgets find a business model

    3. Lead generation breaks into new categories

    4. Social Networking finally becomes a feature

    5. News of TV’s death are greatly exaggerated

    6. Software as a Service gets customer facing

  2. OK, John. My turn…

    1. The next Google emerges -and then is bought by Google.

    2. digg declares bankruptcy.

    3. President Bush makes his MySpace page. “This is cool.”

    4. Starbucks opens its first wine bar.

    5. Matt Cutts leaves Google for another company -which is bought by Google.

  3. I fear next year will be your 4th for the mobile prediction. Not enough holes in the walled gardens. Yet. I think it may take more ubiquitous WiMax/WiBro/WiFi/Wixxx access from non MNO controlled interfaces to really spark the revolution.

  4. I gotta agree with gz on the mobile prediction. I just bought a new phone, and I still can’t set my preferred home page. I can’t send my geo coordinates to a website that I surf to. I can’t install any apps that aren’t approved (I’m on Verizon). Killer apps have a harder time taking off when a device is locked down.

  5. …well, John…since you didn’t quite reach the ever-popular “nice, round number” 15th prediction, may I humbly predict and profer the following for such:

    15. Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, IAC/Ask, Amazon, eBay, or News Corp will launch a new form of PPC 2.0 advertising which; using and protected by pending patent #11/250,908; will pose the greatest threat and danger to paid-search dependent Google since Yahoo sued them over their use of Overture’s paid search system…

    Utilizing keytraits instead of keywords, paid match will allow advertisers (of all sizes, revenues, and ad-systems knowledge and experience) to for the first time in history reach their most desired cutomers quickly, easily, and directly by selecting and bidding–not indirectly and problematically on the words they enter into little search boxes–but, permissively, on their actual demographic and psychographic traits and characteristics.

  6. ps Happy New Year to you as well, John…thanks for all the great info and ideas you share w/us readers…and best wishes for all your “projects” (both known and unknown! πŸ™‚ in 2007.

  7. …on the mobility prediction, 2007 have the ingredients to start what you are saying, but we are far from tipping point phase. technology is not the issue, but challenges “outside” of our control on the ecosystem itself…

    Was using #13 for the mobile prediction coincidence? πŸ™‚

    But keep the mobile prediction on the list; eventually it will happen…


  8. I have been expecting great times for the mobile Web since 2000, but I have stopped expecting it to happen any time soon, as I have been disappointed every year.

    Yes, there will be some good services launched in 2007. We did a usability test last month of a mobile service that I think will be pretty cool when they launch (but of course I am not allowed to say anything about it – how’s that for an annoying teaser πŸ™

    But such services are still the exception, not the rule. And I think it will take more than a year for mobile to break through in general.

    But we are probably getting closer – maybe 3 years now? (Hopeful guess, here…)

  9. The mobile prediction … is this related to the “buying a bottle of wine” story? If so, I know Koreans have been using their phones as bar-code scanners (the square-shaped codes) and as credit cards for quite some time now. I guess the question is when we’ll see more of this in the US, Europe, Australia, etc.

  10. John,

    I do hope you’re right about No.9…

    “By the end of the year, new metrics will emerge to help publishers and marketers understand audience engagement.”

    I included something similar in my predictions for the UK non-profit world…

  11. Just to add to the predictions:

    1. The email tax discussion will continue. Email will eventually be taxed which should help clear up but not eliminate the SPAM problem.

    2. Web security will cause ever increasing software manufacturers headaches which have to be overcome. You can’t even download a legitimate piece of software these days without Norton or whoever killing it before you get it loaded.

    3. Blogging gives us a chance to share ideas but I’m not sure the blog is the final format. I can’t wait to see how blogging evolves.

  12. The mobile prediction … is this related to the “buying a bottle of wine” story? If so, I know Koreans have been using their phones as bar-code scanners (the square-shaped codes) and as credit cards for quite some time now. I guess the question is when we’ll see more of this in the US, Europe, Australia, etc.

  13. I hope number 13 is lucky for us in India… where a mobile phone is the first point of contact with high technology for over 6 million new users each month. Most from non-english/non-western-education backgrounds…

    I imagine someone who understands our India-context and helps people make sense of the web (particularly the mobile/transactional web) would unlock immense value. (there are some people who seem to be headed there)

    1. Most of the 150mm+ indian mobile users probably will never use anything with more computing power than a mobile phone.
    2. People send over 1bn text messages on a good day… imagine the other types of transactions possible…

  14. It’s a little bit disappointing. All predictions are about some major companies that for sure will stay for next 10-15 years. What about tendencies in the Internet, new technologies and small startups? Yes, there are couple words about it but it is definitely is not enough. Just my two cents.

  15. My prediction is people will get tired of blogs and realize they suffer from internet addiction.

    They will also realize the “life” is better lived in 3D, not from a computer screen, and thereby start moving away from the net, and if the net wants to survive, then it’ll have to be more part of the real world, not the virtual world.

    I predict the end of most large corporations we see today. People will realize Microsoft really know much about anything except building bloated software. The Yahoo can only copy creative ideas from Google, not innovate. And the IBM will always follow, not lead, and that overpriced, complicated solutions aren’t really that good afterall. And that Web 2.0 and its’ applications are really not that big a deal, same wine different bottle.

  16. From a well-known economist…
    First, for all the talk of an information economy, ultimately an economy must serve consumers — and consumers don’t want information, they want tangible goods. In particular, the billions of Third World families who finally began to have some purchasing power as the 20th century ended did not want to watch pretty graphics on the Internet — they wanted to live in nice houses, drive cars, and eat meat. Second, the Information Revolution of the late 20th century was — as everyone should have realized — a spectacular but only partial success. Simple information processing became faster and cheaper than anyone had imagined possible; but the once confident Artificial Intelligence movement went from defeat to defeat. As Marvin Minsky, one of the movement’s founders, despairingly remarked, “What people vaguely call common sense is actually more intricate than most of the technical expertise we admire”. And it takes common sense to deal with the physical world — which is why, even at the end of the 21st century, there are still no robot plumbers.

    Most important of all, the prophets of an “information economy” seem to have forgotten basic economics. When something becomes abundant, it also becomes cheap. A world awash in information will be a world in which information per se has very little market value. And in general when the economy becomes extremely good at doing something, that activity becomes less rather than more important. Late 20th-century America was supremely efficient at growing food; that was why it had hardly any farmers. Late 21st-century America is supremely efficient at processing routine information; that is why the traditional white-collar worker has virtually disappeared from the scene.

  17. OK internet junkies, here’s what’s really gonna happen in 2007: 1. The much anticipated Windows Vista will delay – yet again – the arival/release of a non-beta version in a public retail environment. 2. The world will end.(of course this depends on a lot of things like wether or not the world is still here afterwards) 3. The internet will crash and people will jump out of windows because they’re depressed about it. 4. Most importantly – nothing will change except for insignificant variations of what we already have in place today – oh yeah, and then the world will end again. πŸ˜‰

  18. Web 2.0 will crash more violently then the first one. A lot of people will be taken by surprise. All those companies you mention will fail along with Twitter, MySpace, Faceboook, Flickr etc. Those who depended on free services will suddenly be without stock, mail, photo and other data, an email address and any grounds to recover it.

    Google will be acquired by a private investor who will recoup the investment on day one by making a simple change in the algorithm, and by re-engineering YouTube for profitability and compliance. A simple idea will create a major YouTube event that will shock, amaze, engage and unite the world. The key is creativity; the power of a great idea and the value it can create. With all the money spent to build and acquire, this will demonstrate that ideas go further than cash.

    A company not mentioned above will come from left field with a business plan to deliver the mobile promise, totally ad and cost free. This company will seize the moment to focus on the b2b side of life, where most companies have websites that can’t adapt to change. They will provide the tool set to empower all businesses to realize the web’s potential.

    Most blogs will be gone. Flash too. Virtual worlds will pale by comparison to the real world, and people will rediscover the joy of life offline.

  19. Well, this predictions and occurrences are signs of the technology revolution. There is a book that I have read, and it states almost specifically or indirectly that there will be a new revolution or some sort of human wars.

    That isn’t a good thing at all, in my view; to many others, they think it’s cool. But imagine other people who are less rich would or might not be able to afford prices of groceries, digital products everyone owned. yeah… it goes like this

    Anyway, accurate predictions are often made after thorough analyzing. Try finding past records and current records of the titans and sites your interested to predict on, on their sales, marketing and income, traffic.

  20. The mobile prediction … is this related to the “buying a bottle of wine” story? If so, I know Koreans have been using their phones as bar-code scanners (the square-shaped codes) and as credit cards for quite some time now. I guess the question is when we’ll see more of this in the US, Europe, Australia, etc.

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