Penultimate Friday - 2007 Predictions, Anyone?

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Given that most people are bound to be busy photocopying their arse next Friday, I'll jump the gun here with a traditionally naff call for some crystal-bollocks-gazing looking towards 2007.

From the 'It's Friday - but is it bollocks?' department, this piece on CNN Money/Fortune - Can Yahoo catch Google? is subtitled 'Competition between Yahoo and Google could be won by Ask.com'. Really? The following just gets my BS detectors flaring:

The wild card is Ask.com, owned by IAC/Interactive (Charts). Its own site accounts for 2.8 percent of searches, according to Nielsen. But Ask CEO Jim Lanzone explains that if you add in both other search sites Ask operates (like Excite and iWon) as well as other sites that use Ask's search (like Lycos and Infospace), its total volume accounts for more than 10 percent of all searches. Though Ask has its own distinctive (and impressive) search technology, most of the ads on its searches are put there by Google, in a deal that expires at the end of 2007. Expect a hot contest for the deal that succeeds it.

I'd love for Ask to be the Little Engine That Could, but those figures are just nonsense, surely? The piece suggests a cartel of Ask, Live and Y! could seriously stack up against Google. I'm sure they'd have a chance, but is 2007 the year when the Microsoft buy Yahoo stories finally get some legs? Are Live really going to dig in for the 5 or so years they themselves think they need to do more than snap at Google's ankles, going it alone?

Bring on your predictions for 2007, serious, st00pid, tin-foiled and nicely basted.

Comments

1 - Google will buy

1 - Google will buy ask.com
2 - Yahoo will finally stop shedding executives
3 - MSN will...ah, actually, they'll do nothing until about mid-2008
4 - I'll finally get to expand my in-house search team (and not by just me gaining weight)
5 - Click fraud will truly be brought to light in a mainstream fashion that makes folks sit up and take notice
6 - Google will grow more market share through it's desktop presence deals

Ask ain't going anywhere

It's not going anywhere because they are not providing any real reason to switch.. their SERPS are not bad.. their look and feel is not bad... but nothing (SERPS, Speed, look and feel) is so much better to justify some serious change in the current search setup.

Not 2007

Not in 2007, but I wouldn't discount ASK entirely. IMO they've got a far better brandable domain than either G or Y and it seems like they're trying to work it. They could get there - but probably only if G takes a publicity hit. Which could happen.....one of these days one of Google's missteps that we whine about so much here could make it to the public in a big way. Someone starts a viral campaign over their bowing to the chinese gov't or the like. If that happens, ASK.com stands to pick up the slack in a hurry.

And I wouldn't discount MSN yet either. They've got the potential to steamroll into the market just by force of their desktop dominance.

The only other big news I see in 2007 is it'll be the year I move into the affiliate market for the first time :).

Miss Cleo told me...

Ask has horrible branding - they need to ditch their clipart logo and hire some designers. Plus they need to innovate and add something that people actually want or need - sorry binoculars just won't cut it.

G's greed for data and user information might bring them down if there's a big enough personal information leak scandal. Or maybe the FTC will go after them once they buy the New York Times or Trulia or move too far into another important vertical.

MSN will continue to suck for 2007 - they don't get it and they don't look like they're going to anytime soon. Vista will not save them as much as they hope it will.

I like Yahoo. They believe in humans, which I think most people underestimate. They're the 1 down underdog and they're not managing their PR well at the moment, but I see them gaining ground in 2007.

Searchquant 2007 Predictions

10. Growth in number of words per query not only stalls, but goes negative as SE's get better at personalization, geo and context awareness.
9. Keyword management systems vendors realize their systems can't optimize in opaque markets. Their advertisers realize this too, leading to huge churn and massive consolidation.
8. At least one startup gets funding to bridge the online/offline revenue measurement gap using novel approaches. Think Quick Response codes, Project Apollo, RFID readers in cell phones, stuff like that.
7. Y! Panama helps good advertisers do better, and poor advertisers to do worse.
6. Bay Area real estate bubble bursts, offset at the high end by Googlers buying everything in the $1.5M-15M range.
5. Ad copy and multivariate testing stampede starts in earnest, as advertisers fight to raise conversion rates and avoid extinction.
4. MSN doesn't get above 11-12% search market share.
3. George Reyes' fingerprints found on Quality Score knob at the 'Plex.
2. Domain traffic comes to be viewed as the lowest-quality component of Y! & G's networks.
1. Someone proposes via AdWords.

By my recollection it's about

By my recollection it's about once a year that Ask hits the PR circuit, boasting numbers and such that make it look like a player. Sometimes things happen a few months later (stock related, purchase, change). Too bad the rest of the company isn't as aggressive as the PR person doing these "promotions".

Standing still

may have been good for the butler, but it doesnt serve ASK well. They will either be acquired, as Diller realizes he cant catch the other 3 on his own, or he merges with Yahoo.

Elvis is sighted at the Plex looking for Jerry Garcia, after hearing that the Dead's chef works there.

I predict in 2007 ...

... people making predictions will be proved wrong!

Concerning ASK sponsored

I expect they will take it in house once the Google contract expires. They currently lease LookSmart's AdCenter and that platform is improving monthly. If they do choose to augment the sponsored side they will most likely look to MSFT where their old boss Berkowitz now holds fort.

My predictions for 2007 include:
*Further appreciation of local search by Google with local results taking more space on the results pages.
*NewsCorp buys a search engine.
*NYTimes buys or builds an algorithmic search engine.
*Heavy.com picks up speed vs. YouTube.
*Local.com gets taken out by an "old media" concern.
*"Elite" bloggers begin to post original thoughts and content instead of repeating the same search related news every day. (not holding my breath on this one).
*Smaller SEM firms are bought out by conventional agencies.
*U.S Government presses G, Y, and MSN on their cozy relationships with the Chinese commies.

i think the US dollar will

i think the US dollar will continue its descent and would expect a minimum 10% drop. if the US attacks iran the drop could be much larger.

SEOs in a US dollar economy have a cost advantage when pursuing pound and euro-based clients. likewise pound and euro based SEOs may benefit from outsourcing SEO tasks to dollar-based SEOs. also makes SEO companies in dollar-based economies a more lucrative acquisition target for pound and euro-based SEOs.

i also think in 2007 we will see more organizations with greatly flattened capital and management structures. the virtual office and the virtual corporation become more common. all part of the trend away from the angel-VC-IPO-liquidate growth model we've come to know.

IMO one of the biggest opportunities will be in finding solutions to help companies grow and develop outside of the stock market capital model.

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