What’ll Happen in 2003? You Choose

Those of you who are regular readers of The New York Times editorial page are more than familiar with the writings of William Safire. At the end of each of the past 30 years, he has written what has come to be known as the annual office pool. It is a collection of multiple-choice predictions for the coming year, and Safire asks readers to select the answers they feel most likely to occur.

With apologies to William Safire, following are my Analyzing Customer Data predictions for 2003. You are encouraged to submit your answers to each of the predictions, and a few predictions of your own, using the feedback link:

  1. When the history of AOL is written, 2003 will be known as the year:

    1. Jon Miller led the ISP unit back into prosperity.

    2. Ted Turner forced Steve Case to resign among a continued downturn in the online business.
    3. The company finally realized its value was directly tied to the value of its customer data.
    4. The company tried to forget recent history by changing its name back to Time Warner, selling off the ISP service, and focusing on cable operations, television programming, and magazine publishing.

  2. Search engines will:

    1. Become as common an advertising vehicle as the yellow pages

    2. Be considered yesterday’s news, giving way to SMS
    3. Receive the recognition they deserve as the one Internet business model that generates revenue and profits on a consistent basis
    4. Evolve into a set of niche search engines that each focus exclusively on a well-defined subject

  3. Microsoft will unleash:

    1. A broad-based strategy that combines the power of the Internet and its software products to develop a direct billing relationship with consumers

    2. A new version of Windows that revolutionizes the way consumers interact with computers
    3. An ISP service that is more intuitive and consumer friendly than AOL
    4. A flurry of sordid advertising campaigns touting a variety of software products, both existent and nonexistent, that nobody truly understands

  4. SMS will:

    1. Continue to be like soccer — revered internationally but largely ignored in the United States

    2. Take North America by storm, causing businesses and schools alike to ban the use of cell phones
    3. Be hijacked by unscrupulous proliferators of spam
    4. Take on the new meaning “Sell More Stuff” and thereby replace “ABC” (Always Be Closing) as the quintessential sales abbreviation

  5. Gator Chief Marketing Officer Scott Eagle will:

    1. Join CNN’s “Crossfire” as the resident privacy expert, going head to head with Tucker Carlson and James Carville

    2. Be thrown off the set of “The O’Reilly Factor” by Bill O’Reilly for spinning in the “No Spin Zone”
    3. Join the FBI to lead development on the software product that will replace “Carnivore”
    4. Stand in front of a courthouse gleefully repeating, “We won, we won, we really won!”

  6. Spam will:

    1. Continue to proliferate faster than an STD

    2. Be wiped off the face of the planet by a software product developed by SpamCop founder Julian Haight, who will use the profits to build a larger garage out of which to operate
    3. Receive acceptance as a legitimate marketing vehicle and be embraced by Fortune 500 companies
    4. Continue to fill my inbox with offers for worthless, good-for-nothing products and services

  7. DoubleClick will:

    1. Secretly combine customer databases of non-personally identifiable information and personally identifiable information

    2. File for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
    3. Make an offer to purchase the AOL ISP service from the entity that was formerly known as AOL
    4. Keep plugging along quietly as “the leading provider of tools for advertisers, Web publishers and direct marketers”

  8. Pop-up advertisements will:

    1. Disappear

    2. Finally disappear
    3. Finally, mercifully disappear
    4. None of the above

  9. Yahoo will:

    1. Buy Gator

    2. Be bought by a Hollywood mogul who will fashion his company as the largest e-commerce player (hint: his name rhymes with Thriller)
    3. Finally achieve Terry Semel’s ultimate goal of becoming the Internet hub for entertainment news and information
    4. Stumble upon the silver bullet that allows it to create a direct billing relationship with a majority of users

  10. Banner advertisements will:

    1. Evolve into singing and dancing billboards that fully utilize the power of sight, sound, and motion

    2. Evolve into smart vehicles that deliver messages based on Web-usage patterns
    3. Evolve into three-dimensional images that jump out of monitors and onto the desks of computer users
    4. Wither away and die

  11. Excite@Home will resurface:

    1. As a company that provides a variety of synergistic services and financial planning

    2. Merge with Enron to create Excite@HomeEnron, a company that provides a variety of synergistic services and financial planning
    3. Merge with Tyco to create Excite@HomeTyco, a company that provides a variety of synergistic services and financial planning
    4. Merge with Adelphia to create Excite@HomeAdelphia, a company that provides a variety of synergistic services and financial planning

  12. Analyzing Customer Data will be considered:

    1. Sexy and intriguing

    2. Dark and mysterious
    3. Time consuming and encumbering
    4. Disturbing and misunderstood

Wishing you all the best in 2003. Remember to submit your own predictions using the feedback link.

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