SubHub’s Top 10 Predictions for 2009
by Miles Galliford, SubHub Co-Founder
Internet usage and online revenue will continue to grow in 2009, but at a slower rate than we have become use to. Online competition will increase as traditional businesses turn to the web to lower their costs and try to find new revenue streams.
As Warren Buffett once said, "...when the tide goes out you find out who has been swimming naked". 2009 could be a year when we see a lot of naked Internet companies!
So here are my predictions for the next 12 months
Prediction #1 – Online Businesses Without Revenue Streams Will Struggle
The first dotcom bubble was caused by too many over-funded online businesses chasing too little online revenue. Web 2.0 has created its own bubble caused by too many online businesses focused on building scale and audience, without a clear idea of how they will make money. Even Internet gorillas like FaceBook are struggling to find sustainable income streams. Online businesses without clear revenue streams will find it a very difficult year.
Prediction #2 – Local, local, local
Most business is carried out within 10 miles of the home, yet the Internet has failed to address this market need. This will all change. 2009 will see search, content and advertising via the Internet and mobile phone go local.
Prediction #3 – Keywords Will Become Less Important
Wow. What a risky statement! But hold on, listen to what I’ve got to say. The natural next step for Google is to introduce technology that understands the sense of content, rather than relying on looking at which words appear most frequently. For example, if the words eruption, lava and steam appear in an article there is a high probability the article is about volcanoes, even if the word volcano does not appear.
Prediction #4 – Regulation, Regulation, Regulation
Whenever there is a huge crisis, politicians start introducing tighter and more restrictive regulations. The banking sector will bear the brunt of this regulation tidal wave, but the Internet will not escape. Copyright, digital rights, data protection, age certification, libel, cross border trade and taxation will all see new draconian, poorly thought through laws introduced.
Prediction #5 - Open Source Actively Adopted By Big Business
Big business has been very slow to adopt open source. As recession bites and costs are put under the microscope, expensive software licenses will be swapped for open source solutions.
Prediction #6 – Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has already started to boom. 2009 will be its year of broad acceptance… unless there are one or more major failures.
Prediction #7 – Mobile Web Picks Up Speed
I know, I know! The mobile web has been on these prediction lists for the last five years, but this year is different for one big reason… Android. We won’t all become mobile surfers overnight, but many more people will access the Internet on the move.
Prediction #8 – Businesses That Are 'Middlemen' Better Watch Out
Businesses that make money by sitting between a buyer and seller are going to be squeezed. This will include estate agents, recruitment consultants and any broker. The Internet is becoming very good at matching buyers and sellers without needing anyone taking a piece of the cake in the middle.
Prediction #9 – Social Media Indigestion
2008 was the year when people built large lists of friends, followers and contacts. 2009 will be the year they ask themselves ‘why?’. What are the benefits of being connected with hundreds or thousands of people you don’t know? 2009 could be the year of de-friending and disconnecting!
Prediction #10 - Customer Service Will Be The Most Important Marketing Tool
There is often little to differentiate services on the Internet, but as times get tough many companies will choose to reduce the quality of their customer support. This will be a mistake. There is little competitive advantage in technology; competitive advantage on the Internet comes from brand and reputation, which is directly tied to the quaility of customer service.
And one for luck
Prediction #11 – Money, Money, Money!
A website without an income stream is a hobby. Many website owners and bloggers will start to question the amount of time and effort they are putting into their sites for no or little financial reward. 2009 will be the year of content monetization.
They are my predictions for the coming 12 months.