I caught fellow blogger Jesse Stay’s “8 Late Predictions that will Change the Web in 2009” this morning, and as the Internet’s resident ombudsman, I feel compelled to issue some clarifications.
His first prediction was that “SixApart and Automattic will enter the microblogging space.” I can’t speak much to SixApart, but given that the Russian-owned blogging company has been pretty shiftless since it’s acquisition, I can’t really say I know the heart of the executives there.
If you recall, Automattic issued what is essentially Yammer, done better and far earlier, back in January of 2008, and of course free. It was called Prologue, and I’d say that qualifies as “entering the microblogging space.”
His second prediction, “Facebook will overtake Craigslist and/or Ebay in online classified sales, or become a very strong competitor,” is one I completely disagree with. I won’t go into the long drawn out details, but I know it to be true simply because I’ve been watching social networks and their forays into classifieds for more than a couple years.
There simply isn’t anything there for mainstream social networks. If there was a substantial profit to be had there (or even a significant destination), Facebook and MySpace wouldn’t have essentially turned the whole operation over to Oodle.
Prediction number five I had a pretty big problem with as well: “People will grow tired of traditional social media services and move, possibly en masse, to bigger, and better solutions.” As Jason Kaneshiro said, “I definitely agree with the first nine words of number five.”
Beyond that, we run into trouble. Rather than go into a big long thing, I’ll simply ask for an example in Internet history where users have, en masse, moved on to a bigger, better solution. In case you can think of one, explain to me how any of the social media services giants are in a similar situation as the example you can think of.
Prediction eight didn’t ring especially true to me, either: “Content aggregation will move to blogs.” I’d love for it to happen, but there is just too much standing in the way. For a long time, I ran my FriendFeed stream through the site, and it certainly got a lot of love from the search engines. The problem was that readers didn’t love it.
For that reason alone, I don’t see folks going through the trouble of putting up too much more than a widget. It doesn’t drive much traffic, certainly very little user engagement, and leads users off-site.
In an unrelated post (other than the fact that I’m in the mood to correct people at the moment), I caught something from PE Hub shared with me by Andy Angelos that called out Chris Anderson’s assertion that all venture capital has “dried up.”
I do take issue with one line in Anderson’s piece, in which he says:
For the first time since 2001, the overall tide of investment and advertising won’t rise. Indeed, it will almost certainly fall. Venture capital has dried up…
It is true that venture capital activity has slowed down, but to say it has “dried up” is a massive overstatement. In fact, it’s closer to a canard.
Venture capitalists funded 833 U.S.-based companies in Q4 2008, for a total of $5.47 billion. That’s well off the $8.08 billion invested in Q4 2007, but it’s hardly “dried up.”
So there you go. Any other questions?