Grading My 2007 Predictions

Here’s my list of 2007 predictions verbatim:

Powerset et al: There will be several high-profile general search engine launches. By the end of the year none of them will register in the minds of general consumer-users.

Brands and online marketing: Brand advertising dollars move online “in earnest.” And brand marketers become much smarter about “integrated” online-offline media campaigns.

Yahoo!’s independence: Yahoo! is not bought by Microsoft or merged with AOL. If there is an announced acquisition (no earlier than Q4 ‘07) it will be by AT&T. But let’s hope Yahoo! remains independent.

Local still a mess: Even as local search continues to gain more and more usage the fragmentation of both consumer traffic and advertising continues to obscure its real power and importance online.

Real-time offline inventory data: More offline store inventory data is integrated into the online database; comparison engines can no longer ignore this trend and start trying to integrate it themselves.

Online marketing adoption by small businesses: SMBs fully recognize the importance of online marketing and those not doing it start to feel serious anxiety.

User-generated content: The culture of user participation and content creation across the Internet puts a final stake in the heart of remaining doubt among pundits or brand advertisers regarding the permanence of this phenomenon.

User-generated commercials: In a variation on the theme above, user-generated commercials become mainstream and are broadcast widely on traditional TV.

Online video keeps rolling: Video continues to gain momentum with consumer-users, often at the expense of TV but monetization seriously lags consumer adoption. And consumers resist online video ads.

On-demand in demand: We get more Internet content onto TV and downloadable movies (onto TV) becomes a real thing.

Mobile gains steam: Mobile data adoption gains increasing traction and we start seeing some revenues from geotargeted advertising on mobile devices. We also see mobile-social networks gain a foothold and usage. But mobile TV, despite the hype, doesn’t really materialize as a mainstream phenomenon in ‘07.

More newspaper pain but somebody figures “it” out: The print newspaper industry continues to feel the pain of flat-to-declining ad revenues, but online newspapers continue their gains. Newspapers abandon resistance to the mixing of editorial and user-generated content online. And this year somebody in newspapers cracks the code and creates a good user experience that can be emulated across the industry (to some degree). We may also see the emergence of a new, national newspaper ad network.

The mainstreaming of VoIP telephony: People become less afraid of VoIP but AT&T’s triple/quadruple play holds many back.

Traditional directory assistance on life support: Free DA (”mobile local search for the rest of us”) becomes a mainstream phenomenon and a viable ad vehicle for both national and local advertisers (via proxies). Traditional DA (user-pays) is now clearly on the way out.

Free WiFi adds more cities: The hotspot is on the way out.

Some of these are wrong or partly wrong, but many are correct or directionally accurate. DA isn’t yet on “life support” and Powerset hasn’t launched. Arguably nobody’s figured online out completely in the newspaper industry but there’s considerable progress. There have been many user generated commercials (some of which have made it to TV) but this phenomenon hasn’t become as widespread as it appeared it would be. Mobile social networks exist, and both Facebook and MySpace are pushing aggressively into mobile but it’s still early. And municipal WiFi has not advanced as I had hoped, while the dreaded hotspot remains.

If I were objectively grading these predictions, I’d give ’em a B. What do you think; how did I do?

2 Responses to “Grading My 2007 Predictions”

  1. Will Scott Says:

    Greg, sometimes I read your stuff and envy my view from the third coast.

    As you know, New Orleans ain’t New York and San Francisco in a lot of ways — to our benefit, in many ways I think it better represents the mass of America.

    My only perspective on your predictions is at the local and SMB level, because that’s where I work every day, and with all due respect, I’d give you an A on your local prediction and a C on your SMB prediction and a B on Mobile-social aspects of the mobile adoption.

    Local still a mess – it’s unclear, save the spammers, how to effectively maximize all the platforms. Note: I say maximize rather than leverage. We’ve all had success, but I don’t know that those successes are universally repeatable on behalf of SMBs for anyone (outside of a sales story).

    Online marketing adoption by small businesses – In my opinion the majority of SMBs are not yet anxious (off the coasts mind you). They’re hearing about it, wondering about it, but not yet scrambling to have it. My opinion is that outside of the top 20 MSAs we have 18 months before we get to general anxiety and 36-48 to saturation.

    Mobile gains steam – again, your left coast perspective doesn’t play in Peoria – thankfully for me. And Peoria isn’t what it used to be. It’s become “Town”. Mobile and Social are still the domain of kids once off the coasts.

    All that said, I’m looking forward to your forecast for 2008 – and all your contributions.

    Cheers,
    Will

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Fair enough.

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