In the early days of the internet the generally held belief was that the web would be dominated by a few huge companies such as AOL, Yahoo, MSN and Excite (RIP!), who aggregated huge amounts of information within the walls of their site.
These gorillas covered every conceivable subject from gardening and fishing to travel and finance… and still do.
But things are changing and changing fast.
These sites have ended up being jack-of-all-trades and master of none. If you do a search on a specialist subject, content on these mega-sites is rarely listed
Indeed, the situation is now flipping on its head.
Internet users are seeking out niche websites which are focused on their hobby or interest. They want experts at the helm and a community of equally passionate people they can interact with.
This ‘nichification’ (Ed: ‘no I didn’t invent the word!’) is here to stay … and mass aggregation is a thing of the past.
Research out this week clearly shows this dramatic shift.
In the US almost half of all internet users belong to online hobby-oriented site and a similar amount are signed up to a social network.
We have always trumpeted the growing importance of niche content. Now the figures back up our observations and experience.
More importantly for specialist website owners, advertisers are also recognising this shift and they are starting to move budgets away from the industry gorillas to focus on smaller but more targeted audiences.
All this good news for the niche website owner!