The gang of the Corante Web Hub has decided that we’ll do our own predictions for 2006 and that Ken will then aggregate of all of those into a nice summary post. So there we go, what are my predictions for 2006.
1. The Google Bubble will Burst
Google is immensely overvalued and that valuation will need to come down. I might be out on a limb here and I do know that they still have a lot of growth in them, but the problem is that they are slowly but surely becoming the bad guy, and have already sold lots of stock for a reason. They are doing small little things to keep revenue and profits growing but it will be hard. They might monetize Google News to get more cash and that will bring some problems with publishers. They are increasing the number of ads on a page, which gets a bit much. They might have to close down Google Print if the lawsuits are successful, even though I doubt that. There will soon be a lot more competition on the big publisher sites for their ad space and a lot of growth comes from that extended network. Lots of things are really pointing in the direction that their growth will have to slow down soon and then the stock is bound to fall.
2. Lead Based Models will gain importance
Lead based advertising models are already coming into the lime light but this trend will increase, with Root Markets being one that will try to really push that market to new levels. The new company I am building up here in Germany is working in that market and I am doing this for a reason. The model just makes sense for advertisers who get more control, and who are more inclined to advertise on blogs as they are not doing it for the branding but for the clear demand that has been generated.
3. Blogging will loose the hype
You will stop seeing reports that company x now does this blog thing. It will stop to be news and it will become something of a part of the marketing/media mix. This will when the growth will really take of, when not everything will be called blogging for the heck of it. The general idea of being open in your communication, allowing feedback, starting conversations, posts being displayed with newest first, attracting niches, … all this will become very important. Something that will start to be hyped will be moblogging, pushed partly by Nokia, and this will provide interesting opportunities for the press as they will always have fresh pictures from any crime scene.
4. 3G will become accepted
In the US this is already starting but the same thing will happen here in Europe. The reason will be simple. UMTS Networks in Europe, the 3G standard here, have now been built out and the data is available. This is resulting in that bandwidth being available for sale and the first data flatrates are appearing. That means that you can be always and everywhere online for 25 EURs when Base started their UMTS flatrate next year. Nobody will care if it is 3G, but it will just be there.
5. FON will grow big
Through his interesting use of bloggers in the advisory boards in different countries, Martin Versavsky will grow FON into the biggest WiFi network out there. By far. There will be lots of Foneros as he calls them.
6. Structured Blogging will loose the blogging term
Structured Blogging will loose the blogging part and merge more into a first implementation of the semantic web and give us more structure with a lot more schemas being developed on top of the basic idea. Based on this we will see some new level of mash ups that just take data and do fun stuff with that data based on the additional information available. It will lead the way to other schemas around other subjects, creating open data markets where added value is generated through the work done with that content, not the content itself. In a sense the semantic web will start building up quite a bit of hype.
7. Mashups will go corporate
While Mashups are a fun thing, they are at the moment mostly free services that make money with AdSense, but the general idea of connecting things together to great something of real value, of more value than the simple sum of the parts, will start moving into the corporate and for profit space. There will be more Web Services that are not free, with small payments needed on a per request basis. Some very cool stuff will be built that is really a collection of the right Web Services with a good service layer above it that provides something that would have been very costly to do previously.