Looking forward and looking back

Each January the blogosphere is inundated with prediction lists.

It is a chance for each blogger to prove how smart they are. Some lists are hugely intelligent and some are hugely indulgent.

So in the spirit of indulgence I thought I would create my own list of predictions for 2009. But after some time pondering with a glass (or two) of wine I decided that a things that sucked about 2008 list would be the best way to look into the liquid crystal ball.

Google dominance
In 2008 Google consolidated its lead over other search engines. For a market to be truly open it needs to be competitive. With a 72.1% market share in U.S. in December and a higher share in Australia, Google has no real competitors meaning we will continue to pay more for competitive keyword bids.

I do not expect this to change much in 2009. CPC may even continue to rise as more and more businesses move their budgets online.

Less venture capital
US backed venture capital is at its lowest point in five years. This sucks because it means in 2009 there will be less investment in new ideas and innovation.

The sour economic climate has put the bean-counters firmly back in control.

Mobile
2008 was going to be the year. With the iPhone buzz it kinda was but it still wasn’t. 2009 is now the year. Enough said about that.

Ecommerce growth
Growth stagnated online for ecommerce sales proving online businesses are subject to the same buyer concerns as bricks and morter businesses.

Businesses that will do well are the aggregator sites that collect and distribute coupon codes, special offers and shopping catalogues. There will be more research done online before a purchase, particularily a major one.

Twitter
Twitter doesn’t suck. Not at all. I do get concerned about tech heads spending investors money to build something really cool with no business plan. It can’t last. I expect big changes here in 2009. Will the coolness be compromised?

Facebook
Facebook kinda does suck. There’s something I don’t trust about that Harvard drop-out. He’s too earnest, too smart, too rich, too powerful.

I do think Facebook have nailed it with Facebook Connect after the mess-up with Facebook Beacon. Connect plays to their strengths which is building open(ish) platforms for social interaction and engagement.

Web Analytics
There have been a whole lot of exciting analytics products launched in the past few years. Most have a freemium model. Some of my favourites are clicky, clicktale and exactfactor.

Google Analytics have made substantial changes that mean the product is very extensible and powerful. This doesn’t suck at all, so it shouldn’t be on the list but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Kevin Rudd
After the spectacular and long overdue sorry, sorry, sorry, Kevin was proved to be a political operator cut from the same cloth as John Howard.

Bastard! I was a believer in 2007. Now he has broken my bleeding liberal heart.

Wall Street Bankers
Those greedy bastards got greedy and bought financial products no one understood. They also forgot about something called the boom-bust-cycle. It was good to see uber capitalist Greenspan admit he was wrong.

I would like to see some public humiliation involving sandwich boards and tomatoes.

Summing up

So to sum up, for a great 2009 I recommend:

  • Focus on web analytics and learning about your audience and what they are doing;
  • Embrace social optimisation if you haven’t already;
  • Invest in mobile technology;
  • Write Kevin Rudd letters telling him 5% is not enough and web filtering is for autocrats;
  • Watch your money very very carefully;
  • Invest in innovation;

And, of course, keep on laughing.

What do you think?