Six Predictions for ’06

2006 is here, and it’s likely to be a blockbuster for online advertising. All the trends are lining up perfectly. I thought I’d share six of my predictions for 2006.

To help me get started, I searched for “2006 predictions Internet” on Google and got a long list. The best site I found was a blogger’s, Alex Barnett, who assembled the best list. Check out what people predicted for 2005.

The articles I found were good reading, but I wanted my list to represent the collective input from the big thinkers at my agency, so I asked people here to submit their top predictions. I received 50 great predictions from the community, then I narrowed the list and added my own. Here they are:

  • Video explodes online. In early 2005, many leading brands began to dabble in online video. By the year-end, they were investing significant dollars in commercial quality, branded entertainment projects, such as viral campaigns and Webisodes. 2006 will be the year online video takes off. A reality TV show will “air” exclusively online. A major blockbuster film will be launched simultaneously in all channels, with the Internet at its core. Perhaps an alternate ending or another important plot or character-related video will be available online as opposed to the movie theater. Regardless, look for very interesting developments in the trend this year.

  • Opt-in feeds take over. We’ll see a huge shift from “push” to “pull” as people use opt-in feeds as their preferred way to receive content. Personal feed aggregators will be widely used as mainstream Internet users consolidate their personal feeds from Flickr, blogs, and other RSS (define) streams, such as For a single RSS feed, see Peoplefeeds or Suprglu. Some publishers, such as Reuters and New York Times Digital, are monetizing the feeds through subscription fees. Other major RSS content distributors will soon follow suit.
  • Wi-Fi is free. Today, there are many technology-savvy cities providing free wireless access to their residents. These include Austin and New Orleans, to help in the relief efforts. Of course, many cities have free wireless access points scattered about, but 2006 will be the year major U.S. cities make it available to their residents (paid for by major corporate sponsors). Google has offered free wireless access to San Francisco, although it has yet to be implemented. Widespread wireless access has implications for other sectors as well. We predict Dell, HP, and Gateway will all decide to deemphasize their home-use desktops in favor of souped-up, Wi-Fi-endabled, laptops in response to rampant availability of free Wi-Fi.
  • The battle of the Titans moves to new ground. As is true in most mature industries, there’s an exciting battle looming in search. Think Coke vs. Pepsi. The inevitable battle between Yahoo and Google has been brewing for a long time, but late last year the fight got interesting. Google’s 5 percent stake in AOL signals a new era as Google begins its transformation from a technology-driven search specialist into media powerhouse. Look for Yahoo and Google to duke it out in 2006 and for Microsoft to pull a rabbit out of its hat in search.
  • A blogger wins a Pulitzer Prize. Regardless of what source you check, blogs are clearly on the rise. According to both BlogPulse and Technorati, there are 30,000 to 70,000 new blogs created each day, and a total of over 20 million worldwide. I know, you’re thinking there’s a lot of drivel out there. You’re right. But many eloquent and edgy writers are debating important topics, such as human rights, war, and relief efforts. They’re gaining significant readership. We predict 2006 will see the first blogger land a major book deal, get a nod from Oprah’s book club, and turn it into a New York Times Best-Seller. I also predict a blogger will win a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for something authored in 2006, which will prove blogging is as valid as the printed word.
  • Ad servers go offline. As the rapid proliferation of digital touch points continues to spread beyond the computer screen and into real-world places such as retail, in-branch, or dealership kiosks, look for ad servers to extend their reach into these spaces. It wouldn’t be surprising to see kiosks pop up on city streets or in planes to offer Internet access. They’ll offer valuable consumer content while dynamically delivering ad units.

You’ve read our list. Now, let’s see yours! Write in and let’s compare notes.

Happy New Year!

Related reading