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?