How Accurate Were My 2008 Predictions?
by Miles Galliford, SubHub Co-Founder

In January 2008 I made these predictions for the coming year. How well did I do!?

(Or you can jump straight to the predictions for 2009)

Prediction #1 - Content will (finally) go mobile, driven by improved mobile browsers (iPhone, Android), unlimited mobile data plans and mobile-focused content.

7/10 - The IPhone has definitely moved the mobile web forward with over 86% of IPhone users regularly accessing the Internet. Android was late arriving, so its impact will be felt in 2009 when many new Android phones are launched. The mobile web hasn't arrived but it has pulled out of the station.

Prediction #2 - 2008 will be the tipping point for web services, with real competition for Microsoft Office.

8/10 - This was a bit of a non-prediction, as the momentum was already behind the move to web services. This will continue over the next few years largely driven by Google's wide range of free web services.

Prediction #3 - eBooks will go mainstream, driven by Amazon Kindle, version 2

Accuracy: 4/10 - The electronic book hasn't gone mainstream. Kindle 2 has been delayed and the Sony Reader arrived late. Will it take off in 2009? I'm not convinced. I think it will need another round of innovation and a significant drop in price of the readers and content before the band wagon starts to roll.

Prediction #4 - Big advertisers will focus on accessing the loyal audiences of niche websites

Accuracy: 7/10 - Advertising spend on large portal sites (such as Yahoo!) is growing slower than the growth in total online ad spend. This is because the money is starting to find its way into smaller, high quality sites. Adify, an aggregator of niche content got acquired and other aggregators are growing rapidly. This trend will continue as niche content sites get better.

Prediction #5.    2008 will be the make-or-break year for traditional publishers. They will either embrace the Internet or be hit by the train.

Accuracy: 8/10 Print publishers are struggling and those who have not embraced the Internet have probably left it too late. 2009 will see print ad revenues and subscriptions continue to fall. Many traditional publications will fold.

Prediction #6 -    Conversational marketing will be on the rise – brands will proactively interact with their clients to get feedback and help.

Accuracy: 9/10 I haven't heard the term conversational marketing used very much, but the tactics it encapsulates have been widely adopted. Website owners have realised they can only partly rely on the search engines to bring traffic. If they want to reduce their dependence on Google they have to get out onto the web and join the conversation about their sector, product and service.

Prediction #7 - Recession will lead to a boom in Internet activity, as off-line retailers and publishers seek to reduce costs

Accuracy: 9/10 Advertising and ecommerce revenues are continuing to grow on the Internet, whilst they are rapidly falling in the offline world. Revenue is shifting to the web as more business is being conducted online. This will continue in 2009.

Prediction #8 - Google search will continue to improve its search and indexing of niche websites and blogs.

Accuracy: 9/10 - Over the last five years the accuracy of Google's search results have been revolutionised... with very little fanfare. Google started by taking the brave step of excluding link farms and directory sites. Then they started to pay more attention to the quality of the content rather than the historical reputation of a website. Today when you type in a question you are very likely to get a blog listed higher than CNN or the BBC. This has been a quiet revolution, but a revolution none the less.

Prediction #9 - Social networking will go niche

Accuracy: 2/10 I called this one wrong. Networkers are still flocking to the major networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. There is little evidence that niche networking sites are making any real impact.

Prediction #10 - Multimedia (audio and video) content will become the norm on content websites.

Accuracy: 8/10 The last 12 months has seen video become an important part of most of the top news, content and blog websites. It continues to get easier and cheaper to create multimedia content so this trend will continue into 2009.

And What Did I Miss?

Missed #1 - The Credit Crunch

Quite a big one to miss, but I wasn't alone! I predicted a worsening recession, but I never believed that world's banking sector would be brought to its knees. Funding for online companies without a revenue generating business model has dried up. Hundreds of online businesses have closed and hundreds more will follow.

Missed #2 - The Rise of the Netbook

No one saw this coming, but the cheap and simple netbook is sending shockwaves through the computer hardware industry.

Missed #3 - Cloud Computing

I didn't believe that cloud computing would become so important so quickly. It has, and 2009 and will see it become a critical business service that will enable new companies to start cheaply, whilst having the instant capacity to grow rapidly.

Missed #4 - The Rise and Rise of Twitter

Towards the end of 2008 Twitter started to go mainstream. I still think the jury is out on whether this is a fad or genuine business tool.

Missed #5 - The Demise of Second Life

I must have taken my eye off the Internet for a moment in 2008. One minute Second Life was set to revolutionise the web, next minute it has gone from our minds. Anyone seen it?

And what about predictions for 2009? Read them here!

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