The Big Stories of 2000

Since most of y’all are at home or at your desks this New Year’s (along with the Y2K bug), I figured I’d bring along everyone’s favorite parlor game, “Predictions,” to cheer us up.

To play, just come up with your best, most-likely-to-be accurate, most outrageous e-commerce prediction for the year 2000, and email it here. We’ll save them and (maybe) give a prize to whoever gets one right. We could call it our ClickZ Nostradamus Prize.

Meanwhile, to get the party rolling, I’ll offer ten of my own. (That’s why they pay me – and besides, I’m ineligible for this great prize.)

  1. The chances of a stock market crash are 50-50, but rotation is certain. The e-tailers are out (except maybe for Amazon, AOL and eBay, who’ll flutter sideways a la Priceline). In will be wireless broadband, things like Winstar. If I’m right, look for MCI and Sprint to spin off their own wireless broadband assets, greasing their merger and making a bundle.

  2. Some Internet gazillionaire will die mysteriously, and another will be involved in some terrible crime. (There are enough of you around now so that one’s a pretty safe bet.)
  3. Wal-Mart will look like a winner on the Net for the first time, but, upon further review, they’ll turn out to be another Toys-R-Us. (“All hat, no cattle,” as they say in Texas.)
  4. Speaking of politics, someone will figure out that the Internet is great for demagoguery, and play the anti-Net card. (Maybe that little nebbish Gary Bauer will get traction calling for censorship. I can just see him now standing on a stage next to Donna Rice Hughes. Talk about Monkey Business. (And if you get that last joke, you’re too old for the Net.)
  5. Some e-tailing wise guy (or gal) will come up with the idea of celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6) next year, as many good people do, to give web Christmas presents time to arrive.
  6. At least one celebrity who jumps (or jumped) to an Internet start-up will find themselves on top of a massive stock fraud. (I’m naming no names – this one’s as easy a call to make as number two.)
  7. The elections will be inconclusive, and most Internet political questions will be unsettled, so politicians can scrape more campaign contributions out of the Internet’s pocketbook.
  8. Huge divisions will arise between Internet business and consumers on the one hand, and Internet big business and small business on the other, divisions big enough for even politicians to see. (I can’t wait for those direct email campaign contribution pitches, can you?)
  9. Microsoft will sign a Consent Decree that doesn’t look bad on the surface, but will actually be so filled with oversight that workers there won’t be able to go to the toilet without a lawyer. (But they will protect the right to crush RealNetworks.)
  10. Internet pundits will continue to be underpaid, while some Big Media morons will get highly paid jobs from their networks as, you guessed it, Internet pundits. (I’m guessing they’ll be young women who look good in suits.)

That’s it, gang. Now get to work on your predictions, and email them here. If we get enough good ones, I could do a whole column on them next week. Since I’m so underpaid (only joking, boss), at least I can get the readers to do my work for me.

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