It is always interesting, fun and thought-provoking to look at the predictions that industry leaders make for the coming year. At the very least it is a good mental exercise to challenge their forecasts. At best it can generate new ideas and opportunities for helping your business grow.
I have tried to capture the highlights from many of the most read and respected industry experts to enable you to consume dozens of predictions in the shortest possible time.
Have a happy and prosperous 2008!
John Battelle of SearchBlog, a leading site about “the intersection of search, media, technology and more”
1. Web-based advertising will enjoy significant gains in 2008, although they will not be evenly distributed. Innovation will prosper. Those without strategy will be punished.
2. Conversational marketing will be proven as a new form of advertising. (Go to John’s site for more info.)
3. M&A activity will slow down as the major Internet companies experience integration indigestion from 2006–07 acquisitions.
4. The mobile oligarchy will erode, but it will not be until 2009 that the mobile web will be worthy of a development economy (like Web 2.0 in 2005).
5. A ton of venture-funded businesses will go by the wayside.
6. Wall Street will get frustrated with Google because of myriad projects that are failing to deliver.
7. Google will struggle with its display advertising business.
8. Yahoo will come up with a new strategy by mid-2008 that takes into account all its new acquisitions.
9. Yahoo will combine with another third party in a major way by the end of 2008.
10. Microsoft will fail to make any significant inroads into the web market, but will figure out what to do with new acquisition aQuantive (for example, IPO it as a separate company).
11. Facebook will suffer an identity crisis as it goes from founder-focused start-up to Real Company with Lots of Employees and will likely get a new CEO to prepare for a 2009 IPO.
12. Facebook could be involved in an acquisition battle between Google and Microsoft but will most likely cut a deal with a third party, possibly Yahoo.
13. Facebook will take a run at Netvibes.
14. AOL’s Platform A will go public. The rest will be folded into Time Warner.
15. At Newscorp/FIM structural problems will become apparent, resulting in a battle for control of the interactive assets.
16. MySpace will make a comeback of sorts and will look for a partner or be spun out as an independent company.
ReadWriteWeb, a site about web technology news, reviews and analysis
Richard MacManus, Editor:
1. Semantic applications will become more popular. (Editor: Semantic applications understand the meaning of content rather than just matching keywords.)
2. Web services platforms will battle it out for dominance – Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and others competing to create the web operating system.
3. Zoho and/or ThinkFree will be acquired.
4. Online advertising will continue to consolidate.
5. Big Internet companies will surprise us all when they embrace open standards.
6. Most interesting innovations will come from Asia, not Silicon Valley.
Marshall Kirkpatrick, Lead Writer
1. Twitter will be acquired.
2. Ad networks will start to create their own content or acquire content to boost ad inventory.
3. Online video will become ubiquitous, including live and mobile.
4. A handful of big companies will start using OpenID.
5. The value of recommendation engines will become clearer.
6. People will rebel against Google.
7. Some “awesome” stuff will come from new web.
Josh Catone, Lead Writer
1. Tumblr will be acquired.
2. Privacy will be a growing concern in the mainstream, but people won’t take action.
3. OpenID will be adopted by more start-ups and larger web companies, but most people still won’t use it.
4. Facebook will continue to grow. Google will sweat.
5. Mobile web usage will be a big story in 2008.
6. Media coverage will be a catalyst for growth in usage of online WebOffice applications
Alex Iskold, Feature Writer
1. The year 2008 will be dominated by fear of recession.
2. Facebook will mirror decline that MySpace experienced in 2007.
3. Digg will be acquired by a media conglomerate.
4. There will be a rise in “implicit applications,” which monitor our habits.
Emre Sokullu, Feature Writer
1. Facebook will acquire companies to improve advertising, personalization, behavior tracking and image recognition.
2. Facebook will release a browser.
3. Facebook will decline!
4. Google OpenSocial will be a failure. They’ll turn to acquiring a social network.
5. Microsoft will go on a buying spree – Technorati? Six Apart?
Sean Ammirati, Editor
1. Google will start to look vulnerable.
2. Yahoo’s Hack strategy will start to bear fruit.
3. Facebook will start to feel pressure from distributed social networks and distributed commerce systems.
4. Non-search advertising will significantly increase in value, driven by better targeting technology.
5. Innovation in hyperlocal space will ‘put final nail in the newspaper industry coffin.’
6. 3G iPhone
Miles Galliford of SubHub, leading site about the monetization of online content and blogs
1. Content will (finally) go mobile, driven by improved mobile browsers (iPhone, Android), unlimited mobile data plans and mobile-focused content.
2. This year will be the tipping point for web services, with real competition for Microsoft Office.
3. eBooks will go mainstream, driven by Amazon Kindle, version 2.
4. Big advertisers will focus on accessing the loyal audiences of niche websites.
5. This will be the make-or-break year for traditional publishers. They will either embrace the Internet or be hit by the train.
6. Conversational marketing will be on the rise – brands will proactively interact with their clients to get feedback and help.
7. Recession will lead to a boom in Internet activity as off-line retailers and publishers seek to reduce costs.
8. Google search will continue to improve its search and indexing of niche websites and blogs.
9. Social networking will go niche.
10. Multimedia (audio and video) content will become the norm on content websites.
Jon Wine looks at media predictions for 2008 in BusinessWeek
1. Daily newspapers will redefine the word “daily.” At least one top 100 paper will drop its Saturday edition and maybe one other day.
2. More than one famous band will do a Radiohead, by releasing a web-only pay-what-you-think-it-is-worth album.
3. WSJ staff will concede that the News Corp. purchase has not destroyed their paper.
4. Jeff Bewkes will move very quickly to remake Time Warner. AOL will explore a broad partnership or deal with Microsoft, Google or Yahoo.
5. The New York Times will continue to stonewall the current media environment. Revenue decline will slow but not reverse.
6. Tech issues will continue to make cell phones an undernourished and disappointing media platform in America.
7. Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader is stillborn. Version 2, which adds color and web, will achieve middling success.
8. Google will take a first crack at creating an operating platform for cable operators’ set-top boxes to expand data gathering and ad reach.
9. Microsoft will deemphasize its media offering and ramp up selling its online ad solutions to other players.
Raghav “Rags” Gupta of GigaOm asks five questions about 2008
1. Can user-generated video be directly monetized and made profitable? Rags is skeptical!
2. Will recorded music continue its march toward being ad-supported? In 2008 we will see more business models and investment, but the change will take time, as the music companies lack the advertising knowledge and skills.
3. Will handset makers continue to gain more leverage with the carriers? iPhone could have started a revolution that could see the carriers opening up their networks and sharing revenues (and risk) with the handset makers.
4. As the social network turns, where will it go? More social networks will become open, and the big push in 2008 will be Facebook ironing out problems with its Beacon advertising model … with all the other networks copying what they do.
5. Will there be a macroeconomic slowdown, and if there is, what will the effect be on the online space? Smart money says there is a 50 percent likelihood of a recession in the U.S. Consequences: Online advertising is unlikely to fall as it takes business from less-accountable off-line advertising; big brands will stick with quality and channels they know (Google, Yahoo, etc). Ad-supported start-ups are likely to struggle.
Steve King from Small Biz Labs has created “Consensus Top 10 2008 Technology Predictions”
1. Mobile computing will take off.
2. Social networking will become mainstream – in 2008 44 percent will use social networking at least once a month.
3. Mobile social networking will arrive – driven by the teen market.
4. Look for industry consolidation in most tech areas.
5. Cloud computing/web services/Software as a Service – There will be a lot of publicity about who will win the “Web OS” battle.
6. Both Facebook and Google are mentioned on most predictions list. Interestingly IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Yahoo and MySpace are mentioned on very few.
7. Internet disruption will occur as demand for bandwidth catches up with supply, which will result in a general slowdown in surfing speeds.
8. Green IT will be driven by increased environmental awareness and rising electricity costs.
9. Lots of new gadgets will appear, driven by the launches of the iPhone and Amazon Kindle.
10. Unstructured data tools will emerge, as social networking has created huge amounts of unstructured data. New tools will emerge to give it some structure.
The Inquirer’s Year-End Predictions for 2008 (in reverse order)
#10 - Ruiz will be out at AMD.
#9 - Apple will become interested in Palm purchase.
#8 - Apple will debut 3G iPhone.
#7 - Expect black days for tech as U.S. stocks take a tumble.
#6 - Fujitsu will mull Sun buy.
#5 - Scott McNealy will lead start-up.
#4 - Bloggers will give up the ghost (slowly go away).
#3 - Yahoo will cave in and sell out to Microsoft.
#2 - Flash notebooks will go mainstream.
#1 - Apple will use AMD.
Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins outlines his 2008 predictions on Mashable.com
1. OpenSocial and Android will truly converge the worlds of mobile gadgetry with the world of Web 2.0.
2. This year will see the tipping point for copyright and piracy. U.S. government will favor laws that crack down on consumers and protect large corporations.
3. Look for a total breakdown of the big studio music industry.
4. Music sharing sites such as Apple iTunes will need to become more open in the way they allow independent artists to sell their music.
5. More video content from independent artists will find its way onto our TVs via gadgets that link Internet to the television.
6. Web 2.0 web applications will focus on linking together and becoming more open.
7. Attentioning is going to be big!! (Editor’s note: Read here to understand what attentioning is: http://mashable.com/2007/10/22/apml/.)
8. Expect much more cooperation between new video and media companies such as TubeMogul, Ustream, Podango, blinkx and Wizzard as they start talking to each other at the machine level.
9. Much more video and audio podcasting will take place on the social and rich media scene with the formation of the Association for Downloadable Media.
10. Greater distribution, viewer numbers and revenue for podcasts will make 2008 the year of the independent producer.
11. Look for consolidation of the political blogosphere, where audience size equals influence.
12. One or more of the big TV studios will start to struggle! For a more detailed understanding, go to Andrew Baron’s blog (http://dembot.com/post/22117963).
13. One or two of the major record labels will fail because they are unable to make the transition to new media.
14. Green tech will continue to be high profile and receive VC funding, but it will not solve any of the problems. Worse, it will be a huge resource-sink for the economy and lead to a fall in Internet investments as money is diverted to environmental projects.
15. The integration of mobile gadgets with Web 2.0 software and services will continue. Expect to see plenty of innovative gadgets and a few breakaway hits that integrate with the mobile devices we use daily.
16. The new Internet bubble will continue to grow in 1998. It has not reached the insane valuations of the first bubble and may just convert to a boom. What will determine if it’s a bubble or boom is whether bottom-up innovation continues or stagnates.
Steve Finch of Crenk.com
1. There will be a massive consolidation of ad networks.
2. Online video advertising will continue to grow immensely.
3. A major Silicon Valley publicly traded company will go private.
4. I expect to see a slew of solar companies go public.
5. A major blog will be acquired by a publicly traded company.
Joseph Weisenthal, The Stalwart, a blog about markets, business and the economy. I have selected just the technology predictions. For Joseph’s full 2008 forecast, go to:
1. All the major second-tier search engines/portals (MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Ask) will exist in the same state they do now, i.e., no major mergers or spin-offs.
2. Wikia Search will be a flop, though via the magic of SEO it will show strong traffic gains.
3. Despite economic woes, there won’t be a big slowdown in the VC/start-up world.
4. Semantic web technology will continue to be a nonstarter, regardless of how many PhDs helped develop your algorithm.
5. MySpace will remain bigger than Facebook at the end of the year, and it will have a more developed/mature advertising strategy.
6. Several pundits will declare Moore’s Law dead.
7. Amazon’s MP3 store will gain significant traction by end of year (+8 percent). All major labels will sell DRM-free tracks on it.
8. DVD continues to reign supreme as platform of choice for long-form home video.
9. Google won’t end up with any wireless spectrum, and Android will prove unworthy of the hype. Maybe in 2009.
10. Lenovo will gain strong market share in the laptop space.
11. No significant competitor to the iPod will emerge. Non-iPods will fight in frustration for the non-iPod scraps.
12. Big non-Microsoft software companies will be beset by product delays and buggy releases.
13. Google will move further into the enterprise with its own lightweight CRM/ERP software. (Caveat: it may do this in partnership with some existing vendor, though that vendor won’t be Salesforce.com.)
14. Once again, Europe will fail to establish a global Internet brand, à la Google or Yahoo.
15. Purely ad-based business models on the web will recede big-time. That’s not to say free services will go away, but the $/CPM question will not hold as much force.
Amanda Congdon of ValleyWag makes 25 predictions for 2008
1. Facebook will stay independent and private, strike a meaningful deal that legitimizes its business plan and buy a start-up.
2. Born out of the writers’ strike, at least one “Funny or Die” style site will get big buzz and maybe even get bought, but it will fail to produce any videos near the quality of FoD or Super Deluxe.
3. Google will release some limited version of voice search beyond GOOG 411. During the year, the company’s stock will top $800.
4. Digg will sell to a major media company for at least $200 million, and founder Kevin Rose will start a non-web-based company.
5. YouTube will announce it’s adding HD video, but the feature won’t arrive until 2009.
6. Gawker Media, publisher of this site, will start a men’s site and a web show.
7. Yahoo will suffer major layoffs, leading the press to dub it the next AOL.
8. Yet AOL will be spun off and will reframe itself. At the end of 2008, the company’s future will still be uncertain.
9. Apple will release a second-generation iPhone, and at least one New York Times article will try to draw a “middle class/rich” line between those who upgrade and those who stick with the first generation.
10. A new videoblogger will emerge as the go-to example for slick independent daily vlogging, following Amanda Congdon and Ze Frank.
11. Tumblr, the pared-down blogging service, will enjoy the popularity that 2007 brought Twitter.
12. Twitter will remain independent and spin off a new service.
13. The Internet will again fail to drive one presidential candidate to success. So will Chuck Norris.
14. Jason Calacanis, still running his online directory Mahalo, will start another project.
15. A new meme started in a geeky part of the web will infiltrate the “normal” population even more deeply than LOLcats.
16. Yet another ebook reader will come out and no one will care.
17. Blog search engine Technorati will collapse after failing to get enough funding to stay afloat.
18. The Wall Street Journal will announce it will soon be free online.
19. Blog platform maker Six Apart, having spun off LiveJournal and rearranged its exec staff, will be bought.
20. Dell will screw up the goodwill it won in 2007 with another customer-service or bad-parts scandal.
21. Net neutrality will take another hit from a telco-friendly congressional bill.
22. Second Life will plod along.
23. The TechCrunch blog network will land a regular TV appearance, if not a show.
24. The country will tire of the last round of famous-for-being-famous celebs, and gossip blogger Perez Hilton’s TV show will be canceled.
25. A minor medical incident will renew the “Can Apple survive without Steve Jobs?” argument.
Carlo Longino of MobHappy makes his predictions about the mobile market for 2008
1. Apple won’t grow its organic market share by much. Those who want an iPhone have one by now. 3G won’t make a big difference.
2. Android won’t match the hype.
3. Ad-supported content will continue to grow, but there will be friction as operators figure out how to insert themselves into the experience.
4. The 700 MHz auction in the U.S. will toss up an interesting license holder who could really disrupt the market.
5. Smartphone sales won’t accelerate much, as users get fed up with poor usability and featurephones get smarter.
6. Euro 2008 and the Summer Olympics in Beijing will generate a decent amount of interest in mobile TV, but the interest won’t be sustained.
7. Handset vendors will pay more attention, both lip service and real, to environmental issues.
8. Embedded radios (WiFi receivers) in consumer electronics will become more commonplace.
9. Operators will wake up to the threat of IM (instant messaging) and push email to their messaging revenues.
10. “Open” will dominate the discussion in 2008.
Samuel Dean of Web Worker Daily makes six tech predictions for 2008
1. Watch for the arrival of 802.11n wireless technology.
2. Look for lower entry points in computer pricing.
3. Expect brighter prospects for open source offerings.
4. WiFi hotspot usage will jump.
5. There will be more musical chairs amongst the social networks.
6. Brand-new applications will be based on short-range wireless improvements.
Three technology predictions from the Economist
1. Surfing will slow. Bandwidth demand will catch up with supply – video, audio, gaming, web services, email and spam are having the biggest impact. The problem will be made worse as millions of gadgets become web enabled.
2. Surfing will detach. Google may or may not buy the 700 MHz wireless spectrum being auctioned in the U.S., but it has already achieved its goal of persuading the FCC to attach many “open access” provisions to the frequencies. The long and short of it is mobile access to the Internet will change for the better forever in the U.S., which will no doubt influence many other countries’ policies.
3. Surfing – and everything else computer-related – will open. Open source software is hitting the mainstream. Big companies are embracing it, small companies are trying it and even home versions are starting to muscle in on Windows territory. The big question will be what will Microsoft and Apple do to compete?
Twitter Facts’ one prediction for 2008
1. The number of Twitter users will hit 1 million by March 2008.
National Venture Capital Association (U.S.) predicts the trends for 2008
1. Investment in Cleantech will increase. This will lead to this sector becoming overvalued by the end of next year.
2. IPO market will improve.
3. Number of VC companies will decrease through consolidation.
4. Bigger funds will raise large amounts of money to invest in capital-intensive life sciences and clean technology.
5. Seed and series A investments in the Internet and new media space will be very active.
6. We will see an economic downturn in 2008.
Bob Liodice of Advertising Age outlines the trends he recommends you watch in 2008
1. Marketers will be hit by rough patch. Unstable political and economic market will lead to fall in consumer spending. Brand spend will fall, but political spend will fill the void.
2. Innovation and creativity rule. Advertisers will become more creative, particularly mixing off-line and online marketing activity.
3. Digital, digital, digital. The unstoppable move to digital content will continue unabated.
4. The “Brand Swarm.” DDB CEO Chuck Brymer’s notion that people and their opinions coalesce to form critical forces that massively influence marketplace ideas and concepts will take hold. This will increase the importance of the social network sites as marketing channels.
5. Getting compensation right. Brands and agencies will work to get compensation packages that reward success.
6. Neurological market research. New research techniques will tap into the way the brain reacts and responds to situations, messages, etc.
7. Emergence of the “Renaissance Marketer.” Marketers will need to have a much broader view of the world encompassing economics, politics, anthropology, humanism, psychology and technology in order to be able to deliver messages in today’s marketplace.
8. The power of strategic alignment. Messages will become more powerful when they are consistent and complementary across all media.
9. Privacy, privacy, privacy. Data privacy will become more of an issue and will need to be proactively addressed by marketers.