Cleaning out my closet this weekend, I noticed a dust-covered orb in a dark corner, covered by some well-worn Google t-shirts. Upon further examination, I realized it was my trusty crystal ball! Moments after I picked it up, visions of the future of Internet marketing starting flying at me faster than a Viacom exec submitting his resume to Monster. Allow me to share a few with you now . . .
1. Panama Helps Yahoo . . . A Little: Yahoo’s new search platform makes it much easier for advertisers to actually, well, advertise, with Yahoo. And by copying the Google ‘yield management’ model, revenue per click also increases for Yahoo. The bad news, however, is that Yahoo is unable to fully confront its click fraud problem, which leads many advertisers to be cautious with their Yahoo investment.
2. Mobile Marketing Get Lots of Funding and Press, But Not So Much Revenue: The Apple iPhone launch creates a Sand Hill Road frenzy, with VCs push each other out of the way to invest in ad platforms that will take advantage of mobile phone usage. Big media sources like the Wall Street Journal devote front page coverage to the “mobile commerce” revolution. But after many months of hype, few companies are actually making much money with cellphones.
3. Yahoo and eBay Merge: Yahoo recognizes it can’t stop Google search, and eBay gets sick of fighting Google Checkout and Google Base, so the two giants take comfort in each other’s arms. Meg Whitman becomes CEO while Terry Semel gracefully exits and buys several islands in the Caribbean with his severance package.
4. Two or More Senior Google Execs Leave Google: Jonathan Rosenberg (SVP of Product) and Omid Kordestani (SVP of Sales and Biz Dev) separately decide that they are ready for new challenges. Rosenberg becomes CEO of a big competitor, while Kordestani starts a non-profit.
5. Google Gets Sued Over Quality Score: Several advertisers who watch their online marketing campaigns disappear overnight join together in a multibillion dollar class action against Google’s mysterious Quality Score. Google outwardly claims no wrong-doing but internally works on changes to Quality Score to satisfy the plaintiffs.
6. Mercantila.com Goes Public, Earns $225 Billion Valuation: My new company, Mercantila.com, becomes the toast of the town and quickly rivals Google as the sweetheart of online marketing.
7. Technorati is Acquired by Yahoo: Yahoo continues to love Web 2.0 and gobbles up Technorati for $350 million in stock.
8. Google Offers Free Broadband At Home: Google becomes an ad-supported ISP. Americans love the deal, but must wait six months after the announcement as Google does not hire enough resources to fulfill the service initially.
9. Online Lead Generation Consolidates: Quinstreet and Nextag merge, Oversee.net swallows up a major competitor, and AdChemy.com takes another round of funding, using the money to acquire some small SEO shops.
10. RFID Behavioral Marketing Begins: Companies offer colleges students thousands of dollars a year to have an RFID chip implanted in the skull. The businesses then use GPS to track the student’s every move, eventually developing an amazing accurate behavioral profile. Internet advertisers willing shell-out 200 to 300% more per impression to get in front of these targeted customers.
And with that, the crystal ball became cloudy again. For a brief moment, I thought I saw fellow blogger Jay Weintraub scaling Mt. Everest, but I really can’t be too sure. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2008 to find out.
Happy New Year!