by S. Housley
For the most part in 2006, the world escaped Natures wrath, but people were far less kind to their neighbors. 2006 is scarred not by the winds and oceans but by political turmoil across the globe. The Middle East quagmire is the epitome of how wrong things can go, with the war in Lebanon, infighting in Palestine, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and Iraq's sectarian violence the deepest scars of 2006 were self inflicted with man being his own enemy. Of course, the Middle East is not alone with it's own self-destruction. Genocide in Chad and Sudan show how truly intolerant the human race really is. North Korea's impatience and nuclear activity have disrupted Asia. In fact, few areas of the world were left unscathed by man's ambitions in 2006.
Again technology has brought the tragedies of war and the personal stories of families from the farthest corners of the earth, to the door steps of the west. Citizen journalism and Internet propagation has added a complex layer to the stories. The growth of YouTube, Blogs, Podcasting and RSS have personalized the media and given listeners and watchers a personal connection to the reports.
Technology has not only revolutionized news and how it is viewed, interactive technology is shaping the news. Wikipedia, while still a powerhouse in the search engines has a tarnished reputation due to relevancy issues. While persistence pays off for some, there are hints that not all are equal in the most popular social-wiki.
Looking back on last year's predictions, (http://www.small-business-software.net/2005-in-review.htm) sadly I see little has changed in the online world of SPAM and splogs. As feared, social networks and social bookmarking seem to be the next staging ground for spammers. We are already beginning to see the cracks in the ever popular Digg. The collective voice while powerful can be manipulated, bringing into question the usefulness of user generated content. As a result there is a strong indication that web credibility will continue to be an issue in 2007.
Transparency will likely continue to be an issue in 2007, with lack of legislation and no accountability for online journalistic integrity. Readers should not believe everything that they read. Traditional media will continue to struggle, creativity will prevail. Newspapers and traditional media will need to adapt in order to survive in 2007. We will likely see interesting new advertising models emerge in 2007, with video ads and sponsored podcasts taking hold as big media attempt to amortize these new communication mediums.
The world of online advertising saw some significant changes in 2006. Google tightened its grip on publishers in 2006. Enforcing strict new rules for displaying ads. While ad relevancy was critical in 2005, website quality became part of the formula in 2006. Google's change of heart and fall from grace with publishers encouraged new advertising models in 2006 with two new services PayPerPost and ReviewMe emerging. The new pay-per-post models match bloggers and advertisers. Bloggers, or online writers, are paid to review and write about advertiser projects, and like all new mediums, the road was not free of bumps and there were some transparency issues. Both services now require that bloggers or writers disclose that they are being paid for their comments. This new model will likely be a winner in 2007.
As the web becomes more cluttered it is obvious that personalized content will continue to grow, but filtering will play an even more important role. RSS feeds and user selected content will become more mainstream with more and more users opting to choose the content they receive. Companies hoping to stay competitive online and increase communication with potential customers will start to really understand the benefits behind RSS.
Venture Capital money returned to the web in 2006, and the 2.0 bubble continued to grow. While there will continue to be mergers and acquisitions with 2.0 companies in 2007, the activity will likely slow. The courts will likely become crowded in 2007. With big players like Google housing content on YouTube that is in clear violation of western copyright laws, victims will attempt to parlay the copyright infringements into cash in 2007.
Top 10 Winners Predicted for 2007
1. Content Filteri