My 2008 predictions

Danny Sullivan had a big day today. He announced that he’s moving back to California from England this year, and he bought a Mac yesterday. I’m not sure which surprises me more, but it’s probably the Mac thing. I really thought Danny would be the last search/SEO person converted from a PC to a Mac. That also reminded me about a 2008 prediction I made.

I should explain that I love prediction posts. Back at the end of 2007 I wrote a few predictions, and somehow never got around to posting them. Better late than never, although if I waited a few more months I could just recycle them as 2009 predictions. :) Some of these predictions are more far-fetched and aspirational (as in, “I really wish someone would do this”), but I’ll still throw them out here.

One tricky bit is that I didn’t make any big predictions about Google below — some people still don’t get that this is my personal blog, and they might take my (sometimes wishful) predictions as statements as fact, or assume that I have some inside knowledge when I don’t. With that disclaimer, here are my three-month-late predictions.

  • Around February, people will start saying “Holy moly! Apple is grabbing a lot of desktop operating system market share!” In some markets by the end of 2008, Apple’s market share will approach 20%. (By the way, I’m no Apple fanboy; I’m typing this on Windows XP.)
  • 2008 will be the year that hacking and search engine optimization (SEO) collide in a major way. By the end of the year, a nontrivial fraction of blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages. One webhost will get a significant black eye as hundreds or thousands of customers’ websites are hacked. The growth of illegal-blackhat SEO will leave traditional blackhats with a difficult choice: risk doing something illegal or sit out.
  • The most exciting product/start-up of 2008 will not be a Web 2.0 company. Instead, it will concentrate on improving email productivity. For users, as you receive email, it will suggest canned replies and show previous related emails. It will also suggest experts or mailing lists that you could route incoming emails to.
  • Someone will write a book or ebook about how to run a small start-up or internet business on a shoestring budget. The book will discuss how to squeeze the most value out of Google’s products and will also touch on Amazon’s web services.
  • Someone will launch a “baby startup” that gives advice on baby names, then offers to register a domain named for the baby. For $100, the start-up will power the baby’s domain for several years and will host baby pictures and baby videos. The baby’s domain will be protected by a password, but can be shared with family members.
  • An RSS startup will add the ability to take a normal RSS blog feed and produce a “best of” feed that picks only the most popular/controversial/interesting items. You will be able to say (for example) “I want only about three Valleywag posts per day. Pick the best ones for me.” This new offering will cause some controversy across the blogosphere about fair use and copyright. But most bloggers will ultimately decide that they’d rather have the extra “lazy readers” than not have them at all.
  • Someone will write a “Google Backup” tool that backs up all your data from Google by saving data from Google Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Reader, websearch, and Blogger.
  • A top-level domain (TLD registry) will offer domains for under $4. The result will be another TLD blighted by spammy domain registrations.
  • Over 1000 people will begin recording the audio of their daily life, every day, all day.
  • The 2008 presidential election will capture much more interest in the U.S. than in recent elections. Most election drama will play out on TV and the campaign trail. We’ll see a few tie-ins with search, but internet-related issues won’t play the vital role in the election that the blogosphere would like it to.

Check back in 2009 to see how I did! Do you have 2008 predictions for the tech industry?

112 Responses to My 2008 predictions (Leave a comment)

  1. 2008 will be the year that hacking and search engine optimization (SEO) collide in a major way. By the end of the year, a nontrivial fraction of blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages. One webhost will get a significant black eye as hundreds or thousands of customers’ websites are hacked. The growth of illegal-blackhat SEO will leave traditional blackhats with a difficult choice: risk doing something illegal or sit out.

    The sad thing about this is Google used to BAN the victimized site’s ENTIRE domain – even if the hack was just a paragraph on a single page.

    Remember the Jennifer Convertibles tragedy. Of course SearchEnginesWeb talked Google out of continuing this policy.

    But the real mystery is what achievements will SearchEnginesWeb have accomplished by the end of the year and even the end of the decade.

    This is not a joke post – this is absolutely serious!!!

    Just think what has been accomplished in the past two years by simply posting on this and other high profile blogs
    :-o

  2. You probably just gave thousands of people direction for their lives.

    haha. I might just start recording the audio of my life.. but not for the web like justin.tv .. just cause you recommended it.

    -Sandy

  3. I like the baby start-up idea. You just giving them out for free today Matt? Wait has this been created already?

    SearchEnginesWeb, you are right the open line of communication in the last 2-3 years has been awesome between webmasters and SE’s

  4. Jaan Kanellis, I’m just throwing them out. Feel free to run with it. :)

  5. Matt,

    A request which is not related to the current discussion!

    I am using Google Reader to view your blog posting, but I am not able to view the category in which you have posted. Can you tweak your feed to make the category visible in Google reader?

    Pratheep

  6. Aren’t you changing the outcome by making your predictions public? Some of those sound like ideas that a fast moving group could finish this year, starting now.

  7. I have read a number of shoestring budget internet marketing ebooks but none of them taught about maximizing Google/Amazon tools yet.

    Services about pets could be in addition to the “baby” consultation services.

    Will someone from Google release that backup service please?

  8. Hmm.. see you in 2009.

  9. Your Apple comments goes to show your unbiased and balanced opinions Matt! I like the hacking vs SEO bustup notion while time will tell whether Danny Sullivan is a convert to Mac…

  10. mla

    Weird, we just launched it over the weekend.

    http://www.babyblogger.com

    Videos coming soon :)

  11. Harith

    Matt,

    “The 2008 presidential election will capture much more interest in the U.S. than in recent elections. ”

    That should be updated, to read:

    The 2008 presidential election will capture much more interest in the U.S. and Denmark than in recent elections. :)

  12. “Aren’t you changing the outcome by making your predictions public?”

    I hope so for some of these predictions: I want some better email productivity. And a “Run your start-up for free or nearly free with Google products” book would be cool.

  13. koozehchian

    hi dear matt.
    The god of SEO :P

    my prediction is for google INC.

    Google will be EXPLODE by listing my website URLs.

    ;))

  14. How about this:
    In August 2008 Google will offer to buy Yahoo.
    At the same time, you could place a bid to buy Microsoft?

  15. August 2008 Google will offer to buy Yahoo.

    Followed shortly by the sectioning of the board Google is just to dominant in search to get involved in Microhoo!

    Interesting about the BH and hacking – are you seeing data indicate this

    Instead of Macs Danny should by some proper audio kit (condenser mics and pro soundcards) for his podcasts – and if i was being cheeky Autotune :-)

  16. George ww3 Bush will lose it over not getting his daddies “New World Odor” implemented during his 8 year tenure. Then mistakenly supposing he’ll rapture, he will nuke Tehran. China and Russia will retaliate. Then, by the popular demand of the surviving world polity, Google will be the first search engine restored, serving news and connecting rural communities worldwide again. I know, your saying, “that’s one hell of a prediction.” But he who laughs last gets the belly laugh! Sorry, I’m feeling a little quirky today after reading this Website: http://www.thekingofterror.com. If it is true, I am glad I live in the Rockies!

    Robert

  17. Matt Cutts will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Price in economics for establishing peaceful relations between search engines and SEO’s.

    Robert

  18. Diego

    Google Talk client for the Mac will finally be released.

  19. Hi Matt, firstly, from the perspective of a designer, macs rule!

    I like some of your predictions for the year, I think that baby blogging idea could take off, especially if the parents are very computer savvy! It wouldn’t suprise me (if not in 2008) School children will be taught about blogs and engouraged to make and maintain their own!

  20. The year’s almost over, now you come with the predictions ;)

  21. Pim

    I predict that at least some predictions by gurus will be self fulfilling prophecies ;-)

  22. you’ve given me an idea matt … cheers ;)

  23. Shawn Shepherd

    Baby Names on your mind? Is there another prediction you’d like to tell us about? ;)

  24. IMHO you left out a big prediction for 2008, and that is the big advance that Linux is going to make in the Desktop OS market.

    Microsoft has already slashed its Vista prices and I am pretty sure is not a charity move, they are worrying about something and I do not think that something is Apple OS, but time will tell.

    Did I mention that Dell and Walmart sell computers with Linux loaded?

  25. 2008 – The year of Dito

    :p

  26. I think you’re spot on with the illegal BH hacking of blogs, Matt. It’s already picking up volume and requires continuing vigilance for any blogs that have any SE visibility.

  27. tips for 2008`

    Ods On Marisa Hitting Nick Denton or anotehr Vallywag hack 5/4 on
    Ods on Robert Scobnel geting Excite dby new tech (raging certanty)

  28. My daughter’s been blogging since she was 4… (OK the ground rules are that she talks and I type – and I check comments before she’s allowed to.)

    This wasn’t “pushy parent” stuff either – she’d just seen daddy’s blog and mummy’s blog, and wanted one of her own.

    The link I’ve given is to her blog, now the blog of a 5 year old :-) All running, for free, on WordPress.com. I think it’s a really interesting record of the things that fascinated her at the time… and ought to back it up regularly in case wordpress.com ever withdraws it.

    Mark

  29. Big sites will begin to really embrace RIA’s built on Adobe FLEX, AIR, and Microsoft Silverlight. User’s will love them and the search engine’s will sit in bewilderment unable to index them accurately. :D

  30. Wow…some of those are really “out of the box”! Great post Matt!

  31. “Over 1000 people will begin recording the audio of their daily life, every day, all day.”

    Count me in, I started January 1, along with GPS position.

  32. It will also suggest experts or mailing lists that you could route incoming emails to.

    I can see potential for a ‘hitman directory’ option for automatic routing of my email. It would automatically trace spammers and despatch assassins…. There would be a rating system so that people who sent emails that were merely annoying would not actually be assassinated, but would, for example, recieve a dead weasel in the post…

    no?

    Oh well, I’m waiting on the google backup and rss selector, what excellent ideas!

  33. Brian

    Matt, you mentioned:

    An RSS startup will add the ability to take a normal RSS blog feed and produce a “best of” feed that picks only the most popular/controversial/interesting items. You will be able to say (for example) “I want only about three Valleywag posts per day. Pick the best ones for me.” This new offering will cause some controversy across the blogosphere about fair use and copyright. But most bloggers will ultimately decide that they’d rather have the extra “lazy readers” than not have them at all.

    Have a look at AideRSS. This is not my startup but I know the founders and they’re doing a good job of what describe. I’m sure they’d love the attention and you could proclaim that one of your predictions came true ;-)

  34. Any recommendations on how to detect if your site had been hacked for SEO spamming dirty purposes? Could be potentially a good tool in the Google webmasters suite. Since the instances of spamming .edu sites are not rare any more, I am a bit worried.

  35. Great predictions but yes, you are throwing out some rather good ideas out there for people to begin developing! Any baby idea at this point may be profitable as there is a massive baby boom lately (anyone else notice?). We shall check back in ’09 (and plenty of times before then) to see how on point you were!

  36. The prediction about hacking taking over black hat SEO is scary, especially considering “traditional” black hats end up being presented as one of the victims.

    A better prediction, or at least one that I’d like to see come to fruition, is that Google and the other search engines address the root cause of Black Hat SEO and revamp relevancy algorithms.

  37. OK, almost all of those things are already happening. The election thing, well I have to admit that I am very interested. Though if the latest news about Obama telling the Canadians not to worry about NAFTA turns out to be true, then lots of people will fast come to the conclusion that he is just another politician (As if he ever was anything else) and they will be very disappointed and turned off.

    I will be interested to see if Google comes around to issuing penalties on blogs which are using selective no follows. There seem to be a growing group who comment on each others blogs and get their links followed, but when someone from outside the agreed upon group comments, even with lots of substance, there is a no-follow placed on them. Oh, and I am not talking about one post by that individual, but more than 3 or 4 posts all no followed.

    Seems like Search Engine manipulation.

  38. Sept 2008- Google acquire Facebook.

  39. I have a “Google Backup Tool” that backs up my Google Notebook, Blogger, Reader, and Gmail to Amazon S3.

    It scares the hell out of me if one day my Google Account wasn’t there.

    I would be sooo screwed.

    It is crude and a PHP script….but I could productize it if anyone wants it.

    I thought about backing the data up to a separate google account….but Amazon S3 seemed better choice.

  40. Nice list, all good things come from an idea. What hasn’t been done? What can be done better?

    Matt, did loosing your NAS device have any influence on the idea about backing up Google data?

  41. hosting-insider

    Per your second prediction, this did occur to a large Phoenix based web hosting company about a month ago. .gov sites (who shouldn’t have been using shared hosting but were) had .htaccess file hacks placed on their sites redirecting all inbound links to adult content sites. Anyone using WordPress had a number of additions to their blogroll, and some pages had all their home pages redirected to different sites.

    Seems some hacker (not me, I’m no hacker) got into a dedicated box through an simple password, used that to jump onto the internal network, and then dropped a virus that ran over said network. Rather ingenious when you think about it, but rather sad that the hosting company had such an open network.

  42. Number Three is already in the works. I’ve been beta testing Xobni (Inbox spelled backwards) for a few months and it is the best thing since sliced bread for Outlook users. It is one of those “cool tools” that you actually use. And no, I’m not part of the company; just wish they had stock that I could buy. :-P

  43. Nice predictions! The baby startup prediction seemed so far out of the ordinary. My predictions…

    1. Hollywood will come up with a dramatic script involving/about the web-industry with possibilities of starring Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock…thoughts on who would play Matt Cutts?
    2. Facebook will collapse on itself as universities and companies aggressively begin to block access to it.
    3. Google Health will be a huge step in the right direction on so many levels…
    4. Prediction #1 will get botched by Hollywood Execs and somebody will decide to make a sweet documentary.
    5. TV will move over to the web and sponsors will have to rethink how they make commercials and advertise.

  44. Just think what has been accomplished in the past two years by simply posting on this and other high profile blogs

    Hey SEW, what brand of keyboard do you use? I just want to know so that I can buy stock in it as per Everett’s idea (thanks for that, Everett). You must go through 5-10 a day just typing out inane gibberish. There are dividends to be had!

    Since we’re on the topic of predicting things, I’m going to predict that in the second quarter of this year (April 1 to June 30 inclusive), you’ll announce that Google will crack down on the blight that is the PageRank links for sale market by replacing the ultra-useless 0-10 TBPR indicator with “Indexed” or “Not indexed” (or “red” for not indexed, “yellow” for indexed with issues and “green” for fine). SEW will be the first to complain, using bold and italics in levels reserved only for the highly emotional and unstable, followed by about 500 posts from the angry, great unwashed (all of whom made sure to mention how Google is evil) while about half a dozen of us laugh our asses off.

    Come on, Matt. You can make that happen. Prove me right. You know you wanna. :)

  45. I hope your Meme/RSS Reader hybrid prediction comes true. There are quite a few blogs that I enjoy but don’t subscribe to (ex. TechCrunch) because of the large amount of posts they pump out every single day. However, if I knew that I could just get a daily “Best Of” dose, I’d be clicking a lot more orange buttons.

    Now it’s time for you to forward that idea to the GR dept. and tell them to get busy ;)

  46. > An RSS startup will add the ability to take a normal RSS blog feed and produce a “best of” feed that picks only the most popular/controversial/interesting items.

    Just lookup north in Ontario, Canada for AideRSS.

  47. Sort of lost it on #5 for a moment there, fella. But you managed a graceful recovery in the end…

  48. Someone will write a book or ebook about how to run a small start-up or internet business on a shoestring budget. The book will discuss how to squeeze the most value out of Google’s products and will also touch on Amazon’s web services.

    I can see the informercial now:
    Take advantage of our ludicrous offer now, for just 3 easy payments of 19.95 we will take your money and offer a nearly useless ebook show you how to leverage Google’s free services to let you work at home and become a millionaire in 90 days.

  49. That email idea is sweet. I could see Gmail coming out with these types of features. It would also dovetail nicely with Google Groups, and potentially blog search (showing related blog posts by popularity or something if you’re viewing an email list).

    Then again this could have the effect of becoming super annoying. All those humor forwards from my father in-law… I don’t want to see a link to a group or email list for more of the same.

    @Wayne Smallman I think #5 is a killer idea (the baby domain name/web page/hosting). The social site for babies that just got Techcrunch coverage shows the audience is out there. This is an area that Apple could probably jump right into easily using iDisk for example… user-friendliness being key.

  50. Around the end of the year: One of the major search engines will revolutionize search even more by making personalized search more personal. They will incorporate AJAX into the script that displays search results and allow you to move the results around so that next time you search for the same phrase, you will get the results YOU want.. For example, when I search for ‘san diego traffic’, I always pick the #2 result (sigalert) over the D.O.T. website.

    And if, eventually everyone can do this or maybe it counts as sort of a vote for generic results, that #1 ten year old website that is there just because they’ve been an authority for so long will have to keep up with the quality of the #2 or #3 result or they will lose their ranking to a more qualified site.

    This would actually increase the quality of the web as a whole as opposed to just increasing the effort of SEO.

    -tim

  51. Thewebmaster

    Matt, your one part about domains being hacked for landing pages and links struck home… I just looked at my log and googlebot is looking for HUNDREDS of links on ALL my sites that don’t exist? They all have spamy names “free_hacked_software.html” and “hot_naked_asians.html”???? They are all returning “404″ and I just checked the site and there is nothing new in the directories… is this going to hurt me in the google department? Also why is googlebot looking for pages that don’t exist??

  52. Matt, about your prediction…

    2008 will be the year that hacking and search engine optimization (SEO) collide in a major way. By the end of the year, a nontrivial fraction of blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages. One webhost will get a significant black eye as hundreds or thousands of customers’ websites are hacked. The growth of illegal-blackhat SEO will leave traditional blackhats with a difficult choice: risk doing something illegal or sit out.

    I’m already seeing this – in fact, I’ve reported two sites that have had this happen to them (the first site owner came out and said that the site had been compromised, and the second site appeared to be) within the past couple of weeks.

  53. 2008 will be the year that hacking and search engine optimization (SEO) collide in a major way. By the end of the year, a nontrivial fraction of blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages. One webhost will get a significant black eye as hundreds or thousands of customers’ websites are hacked. The growth of illegal-blackhat SEO will leave traditional blackhats with a difficult choice: risk doing something illegal or sit out.

    Matt I have been watching this go on since 07 but as the blackhat scene has been slowly dieing they have been moving into this hacking pages and dumping optimized sites on the hosts some of them go as far as cloaking even. I can def see this growing this year. It all comes down to is it really worth the risk? I don’t think so! When will the blackhat learn that nothing blackhat lasts forever. Anyway great job on the blog

  54. Matt surely has a “man crush” on Danny Sullivan eh? :)

    Danny will continue to work the good cop/bad cop routine in 2008 for/against Google and eventually be hired even though he is of more value to Google’s goals as an outsider…

    But seriously, the relationship between Google, Danny Sullivan and the Marketing Community is an interesting one…

  55. Dave (original)

    I predict Danny Sullivan and every project he is involved in, will keep on profiting from SE spam at the expense of the honest and uniformed of the World by preying on them.

    As the good Dr Phil states: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior :)

  56. I need such a “Google Backup” tool to deal with all my data stored in Google . Waiting for it ….

  57. Hi Matt

    I think Google and other search engines have more of a problem with ‘grey hatters’ than ‘black hatters’.
    To me, black hatters will do anything possible to increase the rankings for a website, often to the long-term detriment of their own domain.
    Grey hatters however (in my opinion) always try to add value to the reader and build links in relevant, legal places. Grey hatters will try and automate as much of this process as possible and try to appear as multiple users.
    White hat on the other hand never try to pass themselves off as someone else.
    I feel that it’s easier for grey hatters to game the system as their link building appears more natural than black hat.
    Taming the grey hatter is the true Holy Grail for Google – perhaps that will be a 2009 prediction? :)

  58. SEM by experienced hackers? sound scary, i hope for the industries sake this doesn’t happen, most SEO companies are on the borderline anyway providing spammey domains.

    As for your other ideas all good fun, and i agree with james-creare macs are good from a designing point of view (i’m typing this out now on a mac).

  59. Dave Eaves

    That baby one sounds like a killer!

  60. Hi Matt,

    Backup of Google documents… I would LOVE it, actually it is possible for Docs only (select docs, more actions, save as html zipped) but not for xls

    You did not predict the winner between Obama, Clinton, McCain and… Nader?
    NostradaMatt, where are you? ;)

  61. A backup (or export feature) for google docs and stuff would be fantastic. Really need that.

  62. nxt

    regarding Google backup – my tip is a Google Gears based Mail/Calendar/Documents Office suite :-)

  63. “…blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages…”

    Right prediction : it begin this week in France @ http://www.webrankinfo.com

  64. Morris Rosenthal

    Matt,

    Interesting prediction about the black hats hacking servers to add links for SEO. Does it add any strength to my suggestion on your last post that Analytics adds a tool that shows Outgoing Links?

    Morris

  65. aren’t you possibly inspiring ‘seo hackers’ ?

  66. Danny Sulivan, nice to hear that… Matt are you familiar with top affiliate contest?

  67. Matt, how can you make a prediction about hacking and BH SEO for 2008 that’s already been happening in 2007?

  68. I predict Apple’s marketshare will exceed your predictions. I switched 2 years ago and am now floating on MacBook Air. Our company has 200+ employees– all on Macs now. My 82 yr old father-in-law uses a Mac. You should convert, Matt! :)

  69. Google begins to serve contextual ads to your cell phone based on your GPS coordinates.

  70. 2008: GTalk client ported to iPhone; 200m S60 users disappointed.
    2009: iGoogle Mobile Server released on iPhone; 150m S60 users annoyed.
    2010: complete suite of Google apps ported to iPhone; 100m S60 users depressed.
    2011: Appoogle buys Nokia; 50m S60 users celebrate.

  71. Brian

    I’m on the baby business as we speak. Good idea, has to be done already? That was pretty good if you wrote the Presidential prediction a few months ago. Did anyone realize Obama rymes with O-Mama, as in Oh mama I can see a change a comin’

    BTW, I’m still searching this blog to see if you reference a Google-friendly rank checker…

  72. Hawaii,

    Starbucks has already pioneered practically the same thing as you describe, by detecting mobile devices within range and then shooting them a coupon saying “you are only 1 block away, stop in for a 1/2 price latte.” They tested this in Manhattan and the response was negative because it was too invasive. so they abruptly discontinued it. But that is quite innovative I must agree. Even this Colorado SEO expert (that would be me) was impressed!

    Robert

  73. I hope the hacking prediction doesn’t come true as it’s been nice not having to deal with 302 hijackings for a year or so. Most of the time when people think they’ve been hijacked now its usually due to something they did themselves like linking to bad neighborhoods.

  74. “I have a “Google Backup Tool” that backs up my Google Notebook, Blogger, Reader, and Gmail to Amazon S3.”

    Kin Lane, that sounds like a pretty awesome tool to me. I was going to suggest that as a Google Summer of Code project if anyone wanted to do it.

    Emmanuel, I’m going to steer clear of political stuff on my blog, at least for the time being.

    Eric Shannon, I think the cross-pollination between seo/hacking will happen regardless of whether I talk about it. :(

    Eric Baillargeon, great tip about AideRSS. It’s pretty fun to apply it to Valleywag.

    IncrediBILL, I’m guessing that the seo/hacking trend will embiggen even more.

  75. AideRSS, I’m assuming that if I leave a comment here you’re savvy enough to find it. Consider allowing some level of negative keyword filtering. For example, if I wanted to subscribe to the Search Engine Land feed but exclude their daily “Searchcap” item, I could say “-searchcap” to exclude that daily item easily. Or I could subscribe to Cartoon Barry’s blog, but exclude “Daily Search Coverage & Link Finds” items. Something along the lines of http://www.filtermyrss.com/ or http://www.feedrinse.com/ .

  76. “I have a “Google Backup Tool” that backs up my Google Notebook, Blogger, Reader, and Gmail to Amazon S3.”

    — Having my developer update with user signup and different account settings……and backup more google data.

    Will post when ready.

    –Kin Lane – kinlane@gmail.com

  77. I could not help but laugh about the baby idea. I had the exact same idea last year (down to the details); but alas like many of my ideas not enough time in the day to execute it.

    I wonder how many people you ticked off with this post. It almost sounded like you have friends working on these sites already, but I guess you would not out them like that. I wonder how much competition guys like baby blogger will have now that you let the baby out of the bag.

    Jim

  78. I predict that someone will write a programe / robot that will act like a human marketing expert to run organic link exchanges based text and info you feed it. this will spare the human SEO’r the mind numbing aspect of link building which has to be done. This will also faster and bigger production of SEO on individual websites, whilst remaining ethical and organic. I Have no idea how this would work but would love it if it did!

  79. Hey Matt,

    I think the baby domain name thing is really going to take off. It seems somewhat materialistic, but because everything is moving to the web I can’t imagine it making more sense than now. Registering your child’s domain is a must have.

    cpa2be

  80. If SEO hacking embiggens even more, it will be a very uncromulent trend. Matt, please emsmallen the SEO hacking effect.

  81. The most interesting part of this post is the fact that Danny bought a mac. I’m a mac fan since 1989 and had to switch at work to a pc due to all the tools I need for SEO work. I also like the 20% market share prediction. Maybe some of the tools I need will move to the mac and I can use a mac at home and at work.

  82. > 2008 will be the year that hacking and
    > search engine optimization (SEO)
    > collide in a major way.

    Matt writes it and it is true.

    http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/shapley/earth-liberation-front-47030309

  83. Hey another Mac fan!!! That is great! I just recently switched to Mac as well, lol I love them!

    Regarding the Baby start-up you are right on target! We opened to the public on Jan 1 2008 http://www.babyspot.com “The Youngest Profiles Ever” Check us out I would love feedback.

  84. Matt, I’m hoping you’re wrong because your assumption would imply that most web hosting companies are completely insecure and wide open for infiltration.

    I think you’re making the assumption that all BH’s are criminals and/or even have the skills to hack because that’s a big leap from spamming blogs and forums to hacking entire web hosts IMO.

    Most botnets and things of that nature which are installed by hackers tend to be on dedicated servers, not boxes managed by professional admins skilled at securing servers so I’m thinking it’s going to be less common place than you predict.

    Here’s crossing my fingers!

  85. Dave (original)

    Blackhats certainly fit the profile of criminals and, IMO, would have no issues take the final small step to illegal activities on the Web. The only encouragement they need is MONEY.

    After all, blackhats ONLY think of themselves and could not careless about the ethical and moral people of this World, or who they steal from to profit.

  86. We’ll try, M.W.A. It’s a tough nut to crack.

    IncrediBILL, I don’t think even a majority of BHs would go a-hacking sites illegally, but I do think that some of them would. Because we see that it happens even now to some degree.

  87. I really hope Google will start doing something with the black hats. Otherwise, the entire search idea will be taken back 10 years and the best choice for a user would be falling back to use multiple manual directories or community recommendations instead of the Google index. Sort of Yahoo approach. Very very sad, but possible.

  88. Matt, thanks for the suggestions! We are (AideRSS), in fact, working on exactly what you’re asking for, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the other features we’ll be rolling out in the coming weeks. Keyword filtering has always been one of the top requests from our users!

    If you, or any of your readers, are up for taking a peek under the hood and doing some beta testing, feel free to drop me a line (ilya at aiderss.com).

    Ilya

  89. Matt wrote:-

    “Someone will write a book or ebook about how to run a small start-up or internet business on a shoestring budget.”

    Someone has already done this but they haven’t quite gotten around to the Google / Amazon bit yet !!

  90. GlobalFusion

    Hi Matt,

    A clear example of one of your predictions is the hacking of the Earth Liberation Front’s (ELF) by viagra spammers/BH. Check it out http://earthliberationfront.com/

    Pretty scary stuff to think that we have go around checking content everyday, even though our security measures are all the way up to the teeth.

    How fast will Google react to removing stuff like that from their databases?

  91. Playtonium

    You don’t have to wait until the end of 2008 for hackers to post illegal link code into people’s web sites. I am the webmaster of a .edu college, and I am currently witnessing my site and THOUSANDS of other reputable college web sites being hacked presumably by the same hacker since he is interlinking all the sites, doing exactly what Matt says, somehow embedding links on the college home pages, then auto-producing pages about spam topics on each of the hacked domains and linking to those pages from OTHER hacked .edu domains. He/she is tricky,and hides the embedded links to the public but google definitely has seen them. All in all so far my .edu domain has thousands of web sites pointing tens of thousands of viagra and cialis-related links back to it form other hacked .edu sites. These aren’t little colleges we’re talking about here people, we’re talking about major Universities and government sites. I have a feeling that’s just the tip of the iceberg. How does one fight that?

  92. ““Google Backup” tool that backs up all your data from Google by saving data from Google Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Reader, websearch, and Blogger”

    What about a “Google Backup” that allows you to see your past Google caches, you could even display it on a timeline functionality

    This would be a great tool for site owners who have hosts that don’t have archive features, allow webmasters to see how google saw their site in time and compare it to their statistics. It could also be tied together with analytics or webmaster tools, to give key statistics that match up with the cache on file at that time.

  93. This is probably spot on. I’ve been on a few hardcore black hat seo forums the past couple of years, and this is the direction it’s moving… Very sad :(

  94. Interesting … love the baby sites prediction.
    Think we might see more sites about babies after this?

    I am also worried for a better way in spamming sites … what other ways might appear in 2009. Is the Internet making spamming easier?

    Good prediction, you have made my day.

  95. thoughts on who would play Matt Cutts?

    I think that would be George Clooney.

    I don’t see why, if someone’s going to organize my email, it needs to be a startup, rather than a well known corporation, with 18,000 employees, that’s supposed to Organize All The World’s Information.

  96. I love this post Matt. I like the prediction about the 1000 people streaming their audio life online. I predict that within the next 5-10 years people will start streaming their visual life online.

  97. “1. Hollywood will come up with a dramatic script involving/about the web-industry with possibilities of starring Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock…thoughts on who would play Matt Cutts?”

    Rick Moranis? ;)

    Ilya Grigorik, good to know that AideRSS is tackling this. I tried Feed Rinse and it works well for doing keyword filters on feeds, so similar functionality would probably get the job done. Thanks for stopping by!

  98. mj

    I guess with this post you started a run on baby domain names, as well as at least 100 people thinking about a baby2.0 project, many people started to write a book ans some made their way to the next Apple store :)
    I guess in some points you are right. What I fear is specially the spam prediction which is for me annoying and for you more work :)
    On a good year 2008. Cheers

  99. This is an interesting comment worth of Nostradamus. However, I would like to oppose concerning the Apples. I hope you are mistaken. Although I have seen the Mac share increasing from 3% to 3.5% according to my sites’ stats, I can’t believe the Vista disaster could increase Apple’s share to 20%. Anyways, to my opinion, more Macs spell disaster. I have always wanted to see the Internet as an integral network where a designer could feel safe to know that his sites would be displayed in a certain way and not in a wrong way. That’s why I hope there will come a time when Macs, Firefoxes and other “bright” ideas is only a part of history.

  100. Dave (original)

    IF Mac’s become the norm, then Apple will likely be the main target of virus writers and hackers, leaving Windows far less targeted and less vunerable. Come on World, buy a Mac :)

  101. ”Over 1000 people will begin recording the audio of their daily life, every day, all day.” :) I am so there…still not recording every moment, but looks like i will start soon…

  102. Hi!

    I predict here last year:

    Microsoft develops a search engine with the 3 main semantic vectors.

    To calibrate such an engine, a manmade directory would be a great help I think.

    Greetings Karl

  103. Hey Matt,

    Off-topic question, but I was wondering if I could email you about your presence (or at least a caricature of your face) in a blackhat banner ad.

  104. Wow – I am really in geekville here – and I love it! What the hell have I been doing these last few years mucking around in sales? This is where I love to play. Great insights Matt – and thanks for taking the time to put these up for us to learn from.

  105. I like your prediction about improving email and I truly hope something like that will happen. A friend of mine had similar ideas about email that you mention (by using FOAF for example), but this was back in 2004, maybe now is the time for it to happen?

  106. The prediction about blackhat SEOs going as far as hacking into entire hosting companies is very scary. It just goes to show that content needs to weigh more than links. I mean, someone can write their tail off for content, writing a conservative blog for years. The next day, someone else can come along with their new blog and post a single entry with a celebrity pictured in a controversial outfit. Who do you think people will link to? The poor guy who has been writing his conservative blog for years or the newbie who found that scandalous picture?

    A website’s content is a better way to show a user the desired page in SERPs than 3 anchored words in a backlink.

  107. It’s hard to believe how far Apple has come. Back in the ’80′s when my mom bought an Apple computer I thought it was cute. At that time it was the only computer I ever saw that had a mechanism to inject and eject a floppy disk. It was also the first computer I had seen using the 3.5 inch floppies, DOS (remember that?) computers were using the 5.25 inch floppy disks.

  108. I just read Selling the Dream and am busy with The Art of the Start, both by Guy Kawasaki (he used to run the Mac division at Apple). Its amazing to see the expectation they had for the Mac, then the decline of Apple, and now it seems the resurgance of Mac. Both books are great, highly recommended for anybody thinking about taking one of Matt’s ideas and making a million buck from it…:)

  109. Matt, not quiet keyword filtering, but a big feature release for us, and hopefully an awesome tool for everyone with 100+ subscriptions: http://gr.aiderss.com

    P.S. Nope, not april fools. ;)

    P.P.S. Keyword filtering next on the list!

  110. You mention feedrinse and filtermyrss. You might want to try http://www.filteredrss.com also. It uses a bayesian filter to filter your RSS feeds.

  111. Matt – definitely right on about the hacking for SEO. Thanks to a note from Google yesterday to a website owner warning removal from Google’s index due to a hidden link on his site, we confirmed that a site currently ranking #1 for some very high trafficked search phrases (“download movies”) has a lot of linkjuice coming into it from hidden links placed by hacking dozens of DNN dotnetnuke sites worldwide. Someone apparently is taking advantage of a weakness in some versions of DNN to slyly add links on some fairly strong PR pages to push not only this one website very high in SERPs but other sites too.

  112. You forgot to predict the progression of the housing, mortgage industry bust and the ballooning of gas prices.

    Interesting post though, Max

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