Free Website Content - 2005 in Review
2005 Took the World by Storm
2005 literally took the world by storm. The tragedies
of the Asian Tsunami, the Hurricanes that blew through
the US Gulf Coast and the earthquakes that swallowed
parts of Pakistan have left an indelible mark on 2005.
While mother nature cast a shadow on 2005, it was technology
that delivered the impact that resulted in a huge outpouring
of donations. The world was touched by the human element
seen real-time in pictures and videos. Today's technology
was able to deliver the graphical grittiness that portrayed
the nightmares occurring half a world away.
Technology is usually thought of as impersonal,
but something needs to be recognized; without technology
the personal elements of the 2005 tragedies would not
likely have been conveyed to the extent and timeliness
they were. Reflecting on 2005 and looking forward to
2006, technology will undoubtedly continue play a significant
role in the future both on a personal and impersonal
In 2005 Blogs gave birth to splogs, where
senseless web scrapers generated massive amounts of
senseless content. Spam reached a whole new level, right
along side the ethical debate of content scraping. Copyrights
have been stepped on and I foresee a new host of tools
that will emerge to protect content.
SPAM and phishing scams were easier to
recognize, but to their credit, spammers showed off
their creativity, finding additional channels to inundate.
From splogs to forum spam, 2005 tech users saw spam
as one of life's continued annoyances. Looking into
a crystal ball, I fear that social bookmarking will
become the spam vehicle of 2006, weakening the value
of a collective voice.
Sadly the blog saturation has resulted
in web clutter. Due to increased competition and vast
quantities of blogs on free hosted blog networks services,
bloggers competing for audiences and web traffic will
result in significant abandoned content, cluttering
the web with useless ramblings. The ease of blogging
that resulted in saturation will be its downfall. Credibility
will again become important. Journalist, who have suffered
from the blogosphere in 2005, will have a reprieve as
credibility becomes an issue for bloggers. In 2006 web
surfers are going to look for multiple sources to confirm
facts, and rely on reliable respected sources, community
content, and collaboration like Wikipedia is going to
suffer and become less relevant in 2006. While Wikipedia
scores well in search, it does not perform as well with
accuracy. The Wikipedia community is haunted by spam
and like DMOZ, it's success will be its downfall. The
relevance of successful community wiki's will fade in
Cell phones have become personal homing
devices, and it is near impossible to locate a cellular
phone that is not capable of manipulating or taking
photos, videos, graphics and text messages in addition
to the traditional voice calls. It is likely the PDA
will become extinct in 2006, as travelers move to a
single multifunction device. In 2007 MP3 players will
likely be a common feature of cell phones.
Wireless growth is still worth noting,
as it has moved from hotspots, to hot zones, to hot
cities. Philadelphia and San Francisco are leading the
way as wireless cities in 2006.
What is in store for 2006? Privacy is
a hot topic that is not going to disappear. Google and
the US Government are battling a Big Brother image.
Data mining has made the collection of data meaningful.
Anti-Google sentiment is growing. Google has fallen
from grace, while Google has made friends on Wall Street,
it has disappointed surfers who have turned to Yahoo
and MSN in growing numbers. 2006 will likely result
heat up the search engine war with MSN and Yahoo scrambling
for marketshare and Google walking a tightrope with
privacy advocates on one end and monopoly theorists
on the other end.
Google wants to make money, and like it or not data,
is a commodity. Google will likely use the data from
their various ventures to develop new technologies and
personalize content. Conspiracy theorists believe that
the Google's aggregate data will also be used to optimize
the fees charged for pay-per-click, influence organic
ranking, or worse yet, sold.
Google's growth will continue to motivate
privacy advocates and those in the technology field
behind the Attention Truste movement, to work together,
to improve how personal information and subscription
information is used online. I expect we will see a lot
of energy and effort in this area.
Personalized content will be a buzz word
for 2006. Whether it is users selecting Podcasts, iTunes,
or purchasing Amazon recommendations the web is learning
how to cater content based on user selections and choices.
Web surfers see personalized content as regaining control
of what they want to watch, see, or listen to. From
Tivo to podcasting, users are taking back control. Yet
when the web serves content that is based on past surfing
habits, who is really in control?
In 2005, marketers were told in no uncertain terms,
if they are not using syndication and RSS, they will
not survive. Well, they have one more chance to get
it right. In 2006, marketers must use RSS as an alternative
communication channel. It will no longer be cutting
edge, it will be a must to survive. Web surfers no longer
expect to provide personal information (an email address)
for marketing materials, they expect to have a choice
about how they wish to receive the content.
Vendors selling through affiliate programs lost ground
in 2005. Publishers found the easy money of pay-per-click
advertising not fraught with the inherent problems of
affiliate tracking and cookie-killers. The increase
in click-fraud and content scraping on AdSense sites
will even the playing field and make affiliate programs
more attractive in 2006.
The world is getting smaller, and technological
advancements has not only brought us tragedy, but also
has opened doors and the global market is now a viable
option for small businesses. I believe the globalization
trend will continue in 2006.
Top 10 Winners Predicted for 2006:
Alternative Energy (reusable fuel, clean energy)
VideoTunes (iTunes with Video)
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
a wireless text messaging software company.
This article may be used freely in opt-in
publications and websites, provided that the resource
box is included and the links are active. A courtesy
copy of the issue or a link to any online posting would
be greatly appreciated send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional articles available for publication available