It’s that time of the year again, where I gaze into the crystal ball and try and predict what will happen in the blogosphere in the year ahead.
1. Technorati will be bought
Now that Technorati works again, it’s a prime candidate to be purchased by a big media company, and the perfect fit would be Yahoo, fitting nicely alongside its recent purchases of “Web 2.0″ companies such as Flickr.
2. SixApart won’t be bought
I’ve predicted that SixApart will be bought out for the last two years and it still hasn’t happened so if I predict it won’t be bought the opposite will probably happen. The VC’s behind SixApart though will be looking at getting some of their money back in 2006 so expect an IPO and SixApart to be listed on the Nasdaq (or a smaller board) with a market cap of around $200 million USD, maybe a bit more.
3. Nick Denton will sell Gawker Media
Despite claiming he’ll never sell out, a large magazine/ publishing house that already prints gossip and celebrity magazines will come along and offer Nick a price he cant refuse. Nick will claim that he hasn’t really sold out because the company that buys Gawker Media is really a perfect fit that’s in tune with the Gawker Media ethos, and naturally already has a huge team of lawyers to defend themselves from celebrity legal actions. Nick will hold on to Fleshbot though.
4. MSN Spaces will pass 100 million blogs
They are already amongst the biggest three blog providers world wide but their international and multi-lingual reach will see MSN Spaces pass MySpace and Xoom to become the planets largest provider of blogs, with over 100 million blogs on their servers.
5. The number of blogs will reach 400 million
On the back of growth at Spaces, Xoom and MySpace, as well as a wide range of blog hosts with 10-20 million blogs (Google, SixApart) the number of blogs in existence will reach 400 million. Around half of these will be abandoned blogs however, and by the end of the year service providers will start deleting abandoned blogs, and the number of blogs will actually start to drop.
6. Blog networks will consolidate
The number of blog networks will continue to grow in the first half of the year, but it will continue to get harder for new networks to make their mark, unless they include existing blogs with a lot of traffic, and there will be a number of new of new networks based around existing blog sites, and lots of 9rules style blog rings as well. By the second half of the year though blog networks will start to merge or fold as it becomes to hard to make a serious quid out of most of them.
7. Blog Advertising will boom (again)
Yep, same prediction as last year but there still isn’t nearly as much money being spent on blog advertising by big companies relative to the number of page views and readers compared to the rest of the online advertising market. We’ve seem some great growth in 2005 but there’s still a lot more to be had.
8. More regulation imposed on blogs
Already a number of nations censor or regulate blogs, and free speech online will continue to become harder in 2006 as nations seek to legislate against political speech in particular, including the United States.
9. Political blogs will continue to lose their influence in the blogosphere
This has already happened in 2005, a non US election year, and despite elections in 2006 the broadening nature of the blogosphere will see political blogs lose their places at the top of the blogosphere to consumer and entertainment blogs, in the same way that that many of the geek bloggers have before them.
10. 150 Web 2.0 companies will launch, nearly all will fail
Another day, another companyr, and yet despite heavy use of rounded corners, the letter “r” and big dollops of Ajax, most will fail.