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Rewind '06, Fast Forward '07 – Michael Garrity

We’ve got about two weeks here at the One Degree offices (virtual as they may be) before we break for the holidays. To wrap up the year in fine style I’ve asked some of the One Degree Contributors to provide us with a rewind of 2006 and a fast forward to 2007 to give you something substantial to chew on as the days get shorter. Michael Garrity shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of this year and what we can expect next year…

1. Rewind – What trends in Internet marketing surprised you in 2006?

  • The explosive growth of the “Social Web”: Ask around, almost everyone under 30 in North America manages a socially-networked personal page disclosing more information on their wants, desires and fears than I’ve exposed to my wife in 5 years of marriage. 60 year old Grandmothers from Wichita are blogging on their favorite travel destinations and arranging to meet new friends from Maine on the Aloha deck for drinks. And everyone and their dog seems to be LinkedIn, Plaxo’ed, AKA’ed, Rapleaf’ed, etc.. The speed by which the social web has caught on and the depth of personal content which individuals are willing to openly exchange threw me completely off-guard in 2006 and, I fundamentally believe, speaks volumes to the deep-seated alienation felt in our society and our deep desire to make meaningful connections. This is a thunderous cry for a revisit of traditional one-way communications mediums like television and radio.
  • The plodding pace of the “Mobile Web”: Pundits have been “punditing” for years on how pervasive the mobile web would be by now. But for those of us reliant on it every day, it’s like watching paint dry. Someone please give me something useful I can use over my mobile device (besides email and text messaging) that doesn’t take a week just to load up a page telling me there’s an error.
  • The glacial pace of the “Digital Home”: They can put a man on the moon but they can’t give me a single converter with an Ipod-style track wheel to control my home entertainment system and to launch a local search and music download interface. I mean, how hard can this be? What should be the panicked rush by the ever-diminishing traditional telco players to brand, own and expand the digital home has been an exercise in navel gazing and finger pointing. Folks, if you are listening, the window is closing on you, hurry up!

2. Rewind – Did you add any new tools to your online marketing toolkit in 2006?

  • On the business side, my team added an event based marketing platform to our service and we outsourced web analytics to a professional third party (seemingly small moves but a big shift for us).
  • On the personal side, I finally got around to setting up a Digg account, Myspace page and several other social web applications just to see what all the fuss was about. Some of them are pretty cool but some, I just don’t get. Maybe I’m getting old.

3. Fast Forward – What do you see as the biggest trends in Internet Marketing in 2007?

  • Advertising power shifts further away from traditional players: Away not just from the traditional media (which is now pretty widely agreed upon% ) but also from the traditional portals and will eventually find it’s way to the new interactive platforms of choice – the mobile web and the digital home. I think those two platforms will make big headway in 2007 in changing how the marketing landscape will look by the end of this decade. My bold prediction is that 50% of on-line ad revenue by 2010 will be generated by the mobile and digital home platforms. My 2007 sub-predictions are that:
    • The Digital Home gets serious
    • Mobile Computing finds a way to get functionality and content right
  • Social Computing gets scary: When evolution turns to revolution, something always goes wrong. My prediction is that capitalism, fraudsters and self-sabotage will change the way the social web operates in 2007 and the safeguards it constructs to protect itself. This will change the way we see the marketing potential of social computing in 2007. Some of the ways I see this changing are through authenticity and identification verification, trusted circles vs. open networks.

4. Fast Forward – At the end of 2007, what do you expect we’ll be looking back at as overhyped? Here are my 4 over-hyped predictions:

  • “Phishing” is today’s Y2K. It’s a scare tactic to clamp down on email usage and email is so 1999.
  • Even the existing low hype for Microsoft’s Vista will be considered over-hyped.
  • Apple’s iPod is at the top of the S curve and will likely get surpassed by lower cost and more reliable digital music units (likely phone based).
  • Digg is dead. As soon as one of Digg’s “reliable” experts auctioned off his profile to the highest bidder, Digg was done!

5. Fast Forward – Any SPECIFIC predictions for 2007? Buy-outs, bubbles bursting, records broken, reputations toppled, break-out companies? Other than the spin-offs from above (mobile search, mobile ad-serve, IPTV-based gaming, etc.), the only other one that comes to me is the fate of Microsoft’s platform. I believe that 2007 will be their “cotillion” year and if it goes well (and not all cotillions do, I’ve heard) they will reshape the portal battleground, especially in Canada with their Sympatico relationship. I’m still not sure how all the parts will fit together for Marketers but they are my pick for the most interesting initiative to watch in 2007.