Two Predictions For 2009 - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
12/21/2008
11:32 AM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
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Two Predictions For 2009

As 2008 comes to a close, I'd like to share predictions for the technology space in 2009. The predictions are: more utility-based Web applications will launch and mobile usage will grow but content won't be monetized.

As 2008 comes to a close, I'd like to share predictions for the technology space in 2009. The predictions are: more utility-based Web applications will launch and mobile usage will grow but content won't be monetized.Utility-based Web Applications Will Be Visible I've been reviewing utilities for a long time now and while they aren't as "sexy" as Twitter or Facebook, these utilities can provide more usefulness than any social network. Many of these utility applications generate real revenue and have more opportunities for revenue than just running ads. Some examples of utility Web applications include:

  • GoMobo -- provides a way to order food online from local fast food establishments and have the food ready when you arrive so you don't have to wait on line
  • ZocDoc -- check out doctors, read reviews from other patients, make appointments
  • 37Signals -- offers a variety of Web-based productivity applications
  • BeenVerified -- runs background checks on potential employees along with the ability to use verified credentials across the Web
  • Zoho -- offers a suite of online office applications

Most early-adopter and Web 2.0 review sites shy away from reviews of utilities because they typically don't drive massive traffic and it's harder to push the reviews to social news sites including Digg or Slashdot. I do believe we will see these review sites starting to cover more utilities in 2009 because of the multitiered revenue approach that many of the utilities exhibit. This visibility will help to push developers into creating more utilities.

Mobile Usage As more people move to "smart" mobile devices, mobile usage will continue to grow and will rapidly accelerate in 2009. Developers will continue to build applications for the iTunes App Store. These applications will provide a stream of mobile monetization for both the developers and for Apple. As for mobile content, usage will also have a rapid growth curve. Sadly, though, monetizing content will be more difficult than monetizing mobile applications.

Most smart mobile devices have great Web browsers but, in my tests, users only engage with the content and not the ads (even less than in a traditional Web environment). The new Skyfire mobile browser can actually resize a page so you can scroll through the content without any of the sidebars where the advertising typically is placed. Traditional display and Google AdWords ads just won't work on a mobile device. The first company to figure out how to actually monetize mobile content will do very well in the market.

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