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In late 2005 I posted my top ten predictions for 2006. Let’s see how I did. Here’s a summary of the predictions with comments on my progress:

1. 2006 will be the year of “cost per action” or “CPA” marketing.

SO FAR: Well, I can’t say that the world has gone absolutely bonkers over online lead generation (a/k/a CPA marketing). Then again, Scripps did buy uSwitch for $366 million so maybe I’m onto something. In general, the jury is still out on this one. Grade: B

2. There will be massive consolidation in the SEM industry.

SO FAR: Well, again, a bit early to tell. There have been acquisitions here and there, but I think I have to give myself on C+ on this one so far.

3. YPN will have strong growth. YPN is the “Yahoo Performance Network” – Yahoo’s equivalent to Google AdSense.

SO FAR: Wishful thinking on my part. Publishers have expressed concern that YPN doesn’t have the same eCPMs of Adsense. Unless Yahoo gets its act together fast, I’m looking at a D- here.

4. Local search will *not* explode.

SO FAR: Even though local search has gotten plenty of VC funding, I’ve yet to see any revenue behind this phenomenon. Until that happens, I give myself an A-.

5. Google Video Search will become a cash cow thanks to amateur porn.

SO FAR: I may be wrong about Google Video Search, but YouTube or something similar will eventually make this happen. Hopefully this year. A solid B.

6. Nextag will get acquired or go public.

SO FAR: There have been a lot of rumors already about Nextag this year (a merger with Quinstreet, acquisition by IAC, a major portal, etc). I feel good about this: A-

7. LookSmart will get acquired or de-listed.

SO FAR: Do you really care one way or the other? B.

8. Google Base will never come out of beta – not in 2006, not ever!

SO FAR: At this point the question is less will it come out of beta but rather will anyone ever start using it. A solid A.

9. A search engine will buy an ad during the Super Bowl (2007).

SO FAR: CareerBuilder and GoDaddy advertised in 2006. Can Ask and Yahoo be far behind. A-.

10. There will be a flurry of “how to” books on search engine marketing.

SO FAR: The list is growing fast on Amazon. I gotta ask though: what does Dr. Phil have to do with AdSense? It isn’t clear to me . . . Anyways, this is a slam dunk A+.

Let’s figure out the grand total then: 4 As, 3 Bs, 1 C, and 1 D. That’s a GPA of 2.8. OK, not honors yet, but I’ve got three quarters to improve my performance. Stay tuned!