Not to be out done by several thousand other media outlets and blogs, here are our predictions for the blogosphere we have all grown to love for 2004. Whether they are accurate or not we will see in 12 months:
1. The Blogosphere as we know it will divide: The terminology of blogging and the blogosphere itself has grown so greatly over the past 12 months that we will see a semi-balkanisation within the blogosphere where new terminology arises to describe sub-sets within the blogosphere.
Terms like “web pundit” and “internet journalist” will be used to describe bloggers like Andrew Sullivan and others. New terms will also be created within the media to describe various sub-groups. With an election in the US, political blogs will drive new terms, perhaps Demogs for Democrats, Reblogs or clogs for republicans. Moblogs will become more widespread as the quality and affordability of camera phones improves, and will start to gain popular attention as current events are snapped live to the web.
2. Blogging companies will face a shake-up: as the blogosphere matures Google will start to regret buying Pyra Labs (Blogger) as the loses are publicly displayed as part of its floating on the NASDAQ. Google will either offload blogger or look to buying a blogging company with a sound technical offering and positive financials: SixApart. And if Google passes up buying SixApart, somebody else will buy it by the end of 2004. The strong growth in TypePad with the solid MT engine underpinning it will see the Trotts grow to the star performers in the Blogosphere in 2004, and possibly retire multi-millionaires by the end of it. Yahoo will purchase a blogging company or launch its own blogging product: either way they will be tackling the market with a vengeance, and Microsoft will finally announced a mass market foray in Qtr 2. Radio Userland and Apple will form an alliance, as both see themselves as offering an elite product to elite users.
3. The number of blog directories and search engines will grow 10 fold. This will be the year for servicing the blogosphere as more and more wannabes try their luck at gaining a foothold in the market, though few will survive. Expect one of two to go very well and threaten the likes of Blogdex and Popdex. Expect to see a combined product that offers the best of Technorati and Daypop (well maybe this is just wishful thinking! Imagine the usability of Daypop on a Technorati database!)
4. Blog growth numbers will start to plateau by the 4th quarter. The growth of the blogosphere is not hype but the growth cannot last. However those which leave will be replaced by less fickle visitors to the blogosphere that mature into service using (and spending) blogizens here for the long term. The abandonment rate of blogs will drop dramatically.
5. Dave Winer will change the heading of scripting news at least 6 times by the end of the year: everyone will long for a return to the cactus.
6. There will be at least 6 new blogs on blogs launched, 2 will survive.
7. The Blog Herald will change its livery 3 times. v.3 will be delayed until late January due to a gluttonous Christmas and New Year. And the site will be ignored again by the major blog awards (thanks Wizbang)
8. An Australian politician will actually launch a blog, showing the rest of the world that Australia is years behind everyone else, as usual
9. Spammers, including blog spammers will be targeted by vigilantes; however there will be some innocent victims along the way
10. Advertising on blogs will grow to a multi-million dollar business.