I was about to write my annual “predictions for the next year” post when I inadvertently wrote “2009” instead of “2008”. I started to correct the error but then thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool to predict trends two years in advance instead of just one? After all, anyone can predict a few months in advance – but two years into the future is where the real experts shine.
So, without further ado, here are five Internet marketing predictions for 2009:
1. Google Acquires NBC. Realizing that their “Google TV” advertising won’t get any penetration on its own, Google coughs up a few billion dollars and acquires NBC and it’s affiliated networks from GE. Google CEO Eric Schmidt comments “We want to democratize TV advertising. In less than six months, every spot on NBC will be placed through an online auction.” Despite the initially lukewarm reaction from advertisers (other than SalesGenie and eSurance), the concept eventually catches on and is adopted by the other major networks.
2. eBay discontinues the Yahoo brand. After a heated bidding war for Yahoo between MSN, eBay and Amazon in 2008, eBay emerges victorious. In the months that follow, three thousand positions at Yahoo are eliminated, mostly in content and sales. In early 2009, eBay rebrands all Yahoo properties with the eBay brand. CEO Meg Whitman notes in an interview: “We want consumers to understand that they can do everything at eBay – email, shopping, searching, phone calls. It’s sad to see the Yahoo brand disappear, but these things happen.”
3. Apple’s iAI outsells Dell. The mobile revolution finally happens during Christmas 2009 when Apple sells three million iAI – the phone-internet-camera-GPS-credit card-RFID machine that folds down to the size of a business card. Laptop makers like Dell warn Wall Street that sales will be significantly impacted by Apple’s launch. And Google’s shares drop 30% overnight when Steve Jobs announces that Apple has created its own search engine for its products.
4. TrustMe signs up one millionth customer. TrustMe, the ecommerce company that automatically orders products for you based on its understanding of your needs, finally reaches the million customer mark. Privacy advocates continue to warn consumers of the dangers of the TrustMe “FollowMe” software that monitors both their offline and online behavior, but consumers love the fact that the software really seems to work.
5. Stanford Fazes Out Textbooks. Stanford and Amazon agree to a five year deal in which all Stanford textbooks will be delivered electronically. The deal causes panic among textbook manufacturers, which is not unwarranted as Amazon quickly signs up 20 more major universities to the program before the year is over.
Check back in 2009 to see if I got these right. Until then, let’s just assume most of them will be correct.