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2008 Predictions

1 January, 2008 (16:42) | Business | By: Nick Dalton

The Steady Decline of Web Sites

Companies spend billions of dollars on creating elaborate web sites promoting their company. Web site visitors and customers rarely care about your company. They want the information they’re looking for quickly. Blogs, RSS, gadgets and widgets, video and mobile browsers all make the web site more and more irrelevant.

The challenge for 2008 for you as an Internet business owner is to get in front of your customers through all these different channels and to provide a holistic customer experience across these fragmented interactions.

Video Saturation and the Raise of Brands

2007 was the year of the video and now there are more videos online than anyone can watch in a lifetime. How do you know what to watch when you’re tired of just “YouTube channel surfing”? How do you determine if a video is worth watching based on just a 1-5 star rating? 2008 will see the emergence of video brands that produce, compile or recommend videos for specific audiences.

Increased Use of CRM Systems

Are you inundated by poorly targeted marketing messages? Do you get multiple copies of the same message? In an increasingly noisy world, marketers who target their messages for specific segments of their lists will have an advantage. For example: prospects, customers and former customers should rarely receive the same emails. Top marketers like Rich Schefren and Perry Marshall have already implemented CRM. Many more will follow in 2008.

Increase in WordPress Security Exploits

In 2007 we saw several high profile security exploits where criminals used compromised WordPress blogs to add links to their own drug peddling web sites. Since WordPress is the worlds most popular blogging platform it is a very attractive target for exploiting any security holes. And there is a direct financial incentive for taking over thousands of blogs for the purpose of gaining high PR links or using the servers for other criminal activity like denial of service attacks or sending spam emails.

Continued Flood of Aspiring Internet Businesses

More and more people are lured by the Internet lifestyle and making money online. However as the competition increases the barrier to entry also increases. What used to pass as a $7 ebook will soon be difficult to give away for free. In terms of success stories Internet businesses will look more like the established book market: a few very well known authors always produce blockbusters, below that there is a large number of authors who make a living, and then there’s the majority of authors who sell less than 100 books. And that doesn’t even include the authors who never even get published.

There will be significant opportunities for those who can guide all these new aspiring Internet entrepreneurs up the path towards making a living online. There will also be opportunities for companies acting like traditional publishers. Who have the production and promotion machine ready to go and all the major JV partners lined up for new products.

Offshore Turning the Tables

In the past years most successful Internet businesses have outsourced many tasks to providers in countries with lower wages. In the next years these countries will have the greatest growth in Internet availability and Internet businesses. It doesn’t take much entrepreneurial spirit to realize the financial benefits of doing the work for your own Internet business, instead of working as an outsourcer for low wages.

Imagine the competition from tens of thousands of new Internet businesses emerging from these countries where they have significant (multiple orders of magnitude!) cost advantages over you. Welcome to 2008!

Other Interesting 2008 Predictions

Comments

Comment from Friedbeef
Time: January 1, 2008, 20:08

Completely agree with Offshore turning tables! One thing we don’t have though is easy access to VC. That’s one big thing US has an advantage.

Comment from Nick Dalton
Time: January 1, 2008, 21:07

I agree that easy access to VC has traditionally been a huge advantage for high-tech businesses in the U.S.

I think one of the main benefits of starting an Internet business is that the capital requirements are very low. Even if you are aiming for the stars, many of today’s successful Web 2.0 companies have proven that you can literally start the company on a shoestring budget.

With the abundance of great open source software combined with Amazon’s infrastructure services, you can literally build and scale a web site to millions of users without any capital expenditures.

Because of the ease and low cost of starting even the most ambitious Internet business, venture capitalists will have to adapt even more in 2008.

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