2005 Took the World by Storm
2005 literally took the world by storm. The tragedies
of the Asian Tsunami, the Hurricanes that blew through the
US Gulf Coast and the earthquakes that swallowed parts of
Pakistan have left an indelible mark on 2005. While mother
nature cast a shadow on 2005, it was technology that delivered
the impact that resulted in a huge outpouring of donations.
The world was touched by the human element seen real-time
in pictures and videos. Today's technology was able to deliver
the graphical grittiness that portrayed the nightmares occurring
half a world away.
Technology is usually thought of as impersonal,
but something needs to be recognized; without technology the
personal elements of the 2005 tragedies would not likely have
been conveyed to the extent and timeliness they were. Reflecting
on 2005 and looking forward to 2006, technology will undoubtedly
continue play a significant role in the future both on a personal
and impersonal level.
In 2005 Blogs gave birth to splogs, where senseless
web scrapers generated massive amounts of senseless content.
Spam reached a whole new level, right along side the ethical
debate of content scraping. Copyrights have been stepped on
and I foresee a new host of tools that will emerge to protect
SPAM and phishing scams were easier to recognize,
but to their credit, spammers showed off their creativity,
finding additional channels to inundate. From splogs to forum
spam, 2005 tech users saw spam as one of life's continued
annoyances. Looking into a crystal ball, I fear that social
bookmarking will become the spam vehicle of 2006, weakening
the value of a collective voice.
Sadly the blog saturation has resulted in web
clutter. Due to increased competition and vast quantities
of blogs on free hosted blog networks services, bloggers competing
for audiences and web traffic will result in significant abandoned
content, cluttering the web with useless ramblings. The ease
of blogging that resulted in saturation will be its downfall.
Credibility will again become important. Journalist, who have
suffered from the blogosphere in 2005, will have a reprieve
as credibility becomes an issue for bloggers. In 2006 web
surfers are going to look for multiple sources to confirm
facts, and rely on reliable respected sources, community content,
and collaboration like Wikipedia is going to suffer and become
less relevant in 2006. While Wikipedia scores well in search,
it does not perform as well with accuracy. The Wikipedia community
is haunted by spam and like DMOZ, it's success will be its
downfall. The relevance of successful community wiki's will
fade in 2006.
Cell phones have become personal homing devices,
and it is near impossible to locate a cellular phone that
is not capable of manipulating or taking photos, videos, graphics
and text messages in addition to the traditional voice calls.
It is likely the PDA will become extinct in 2006, as travelers
move to a single multifunction device. In 2007 MP3 players
will likely be a common feature of cell phones.
Wireless growth is still worth noting, as it
has moved from hotspots, to hot zones, to hot cities. Philadelphia
and San Francisco are leading the way as wireless cities in
What is in store for 2006? Privacy is a hot
topic that is not going to disappear. Google and the US Government
are battling a Big Brother image. Data mining has made the
collection of data meaningful. Anti-Google sentiment is growing.
Google has fallen from grace, while Google has made friends
on Wall Street, it has disappointed surfers who have turned
to Yahoo and MSN in growing numbers. 2006 will likely result
heat up the search engine war with MSN and Yahoo scrambling
for marketshare and Google walking a tightrope with privacy
advocates on one end and monopoly theorists on the other end.
Google wants to make money, and like it or not data, is a
commodity. Google will likely use the data from their various
ventures to develop new technologies and personalize content.
Conspiracy theorists believe that the Google's aggregate data
will also be used to optimize the fees charged for pay-per-click,
influence organic ranking, or worse yet, sold.
Google's growth will continue to motivate privacy
advocates and those in the technology field behind the Attention
Truste movement, to work together, to improve how personal
information and subscription information is used online. I
expect we will see a lot of energy and effort in this area.
Personalized content will be a buzz word for
2006. Whether it is users selecting Podcasts, iTunes, or purchasing
Amazon recommendations the web is learning how to cater content
based on user selections and choices. Web surfers see personalized
content as regaining control of what they want to watch, see,
or listen to. From Tivo to podcasting, users are taking back
control. Yet when the web serves content that is based on
past surfing habits, who is really in control?
In 2005, marketers were told in no uncertain terms, if they
are not using syndication and RSS, they will not survive.
Well, they have one more chance to get it right. In 2006,
marketers must use RSS as an alternative communication channel.
It will no longer be cutting edge, it will be a must to survive.
Web surfers no longer expect to provide personal information
(an email address) for marketing materials, they expect to
have a choice about how they wish to receive the content.
Vendors selling through affiliate programs lost ground in
2005. Publishers found the easy money of pay-per-click advertising
not fraught with the inherent problems of affiliate tracking
and cookie-killers. The increase in click-fraud and content
scraping on AdSense sites will even the playing field and
make affiliate programs more attractive in 2006.
The world is getting smaller, and technological
advancements has not only brought us tragedy, but also has
opened doors and the global market is now a viable option
for small businesses. I believe the globalization trend will
continue in 2006.
Top 10 Winners Predicted for 2006:
Alternative Energy (reusable fuel, clean energy)
VideoTunes (iTunes with Video)
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.
In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.