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Technologies To Watch Fail In 2009 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-hope-asteroid-defense-isn't-on-the-list dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microblogs, targeted advertising, social news, online video, streaming music, and enterprise social networking are among the technologies that will probably fail in 2009, according to a new report from Internet Evolution. The report cites revenue figures, failed or non-existent business models, and an overabundance of 'me-too' start-ups, combined with the current recession, as reasons the aforementioned technologies might not survive the year. 'Whereas the past couple of years have been defined by overcrowding and overfunding in the Web 2.0 space, and an onslaught of startups with no purpose or plan to make money, this recessionary year is likely to see more due diligence on the part of VCs, allowing strong companies and technologies to emerge from the smoldering pile of dead ones.'"
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Technologies To Watch Fail In 2009

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  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:21AM (#26496619) Homepage Journal

    When I read the summary I was pretty annoyed - but I went and read the article (crazy I know) and that helped because it doesn't say these technologies will fail. It says some of the companies trying to make money off these technologies will fail. That's something completely different and I would agree that they are probably right. Of course most start-ups fail so making that kind of a prediction is a bit of a safe bet.
     
    The thing is a lot of this stuff, I'm thinking especially of microblogging since that has really been something I've been interested in a quite a bit recently, will not go away because a lot of people really enjoy using the technology. That it is difficult to turn that into a way to make money makes me happy. So what if twitter fails? People can just move to identi.ca. Then no one needs to make any money off the platform - they just need to enjoy it and participate for motives other than financial benefit. The costs will still exist but they will be spread out across all the participants.
     
    There is that segment of any new community that see it as a way to make money. Those people are rife in most social spaces ( web 2.0 or whatever you want to call it ) right now. People who just want to constantly talk about making twitter a part of your strategy to increase your fan base to make more money or how to use facebook to get rich, etc. I can't wait until they are gone.
     
    What is exciting to me is that most of the alternatives that will step up to fill the vacuum left by the failed commercial attempts are open. That means I can enjoy interacting with a wide array of people all over the world but maintain control over what happens and participate on my terms.

    • Web 2.0 = NEED MORE CLICKS. The article has it right. That model may be nice and all, but in execution, it's not something that will make money in the long term, at least not to the amount that corporations are hoping. They won't "die," (the revenue is usually enough to be self-sustaining) but the buzz around them will fall slowly off when people realize, "Hey, this won't make me a million dollars."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stoolpigeon (454276) *

        That model is completely unnecessary. There is no reason for any kind of revenue - just people who want to get to know others, participate in a community, etc. And if by buzz you mean all those marketing types and prognosticators going away - then like I said, I can't wait for it to go away. Those people are amazingly annoying.

        • by kjart (941720) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:25AM (#26497027)

          There is no reason for any kind of revenue - just people who want to get to know others, participate in a community, etc.

          That's absurd - who pays the cost necessary to actually keep such a service running?

          • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:08PM (#26497341) Homepage Journal

            All you need with a federated service like identi.ca is a small percentage of the participants to host a server. and those people just need a hosting account they can get out of their disposable income. With open social and the like a lot of other things can work the same way - there is no need for a central authority or revenue generator - everything is distributed. And the costs are low enough out at the end points that their need not be income derived from the activity itself.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by AmigaHeretic (991368)
              >>All you need with a federated service like identi.ca is a small percentage of the participants to host a server. and those people just need a hosting account they can get out of their disposable income.

              So my choices are pay money and host a server or see a little AD to have some other company do all the work for me?

              I think it's easier for me to have a little AD on the side of the page when I log into Twitter. Easier and free.
              • Adblock (Score:4, Insightful)

                by js_sebastian (946118) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:51PM (#26497725)

                So my choices are pay money and host a server or see a little AD to have some other company do all the work for me? I think it's easier for me to have a little AD on the side of the page when I log into Twitter. Easier and free.

                Or use adblock, and wait for twitter,facebook and Co. to go bankrupt when enough people join you... Then distributed, open alternatives will be the only option...

                • So my choices are pay money and host a server or see a little AD to have some other company do all the work for me? I think it's easier for me to have a little AD on the side of the page when I log into Twitter. Easier and free.

                  Or use adblock, and wait for twitter,facebook and Co. to go bankrupt when enough people join you... Then distributed, open alternatives will be the only option...

                  All we'll need then is someone to pay for it ;)

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Franio (964631)
                No, he means that the choice is somebody (not necessarily you) paying money. Wikipedia is free to everyone with no ads because some people pay for it through donations.
                • by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:10PM (#26502045) Journal
                  Not picking on you personaly but this whole thread is a confusion between revenue, costs and profit. A web site has costs, period. You have three choices.

                  1. You eat the costs so everyone has a "free" service. (generous and passionate)
                  2. You create revenue to balance the costs so everyone has a "free" service. (wise and passionate)
                  3. You create revenue to exceed the costs, the service puts bread on your table. (business, passion is often fake)
                  The most common way to eat the costs is through donations.
              • Nobody said anything about seeing adverts, if that's what you mean by AD. identi.ca doesn't appear to have any, that I can see. If you're already hosting a server of some sort, like probably most of the users here, why not allocate a bit of spare capacity to something you like doing?

              • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                I would love to understand why people hold the economic ideas they do regarding Internet services.

                Why is it absurd to pay for some service I want, or form a co-op, or just share with my community out of good nature, instead of trying to harass with advertisements as micro-payment?

                Why don't we expect other activities to be handled the same way? When someone goes on a coffee run or brings bagels to the office, they just use a cash pool or rough karma balance. They don't expect to find an ad-supported free cof

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by kjart (941720)

              All you need with a federated service like identi.ca is a small percentage

              It's odd you bring up identi.ca, since the company behind them, Control Yourself, Inc [controlyourself.ca] would probably disagree with you about not needing a revenue stream - or at least, their investors [controlyourself.ca] would.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by stoolpigeon (454276) *

                It's not odd at all. I'm sure the company and their investors would like to make money this way. Maybe they will, maybe they wont. The point is that isn't necessary to the survival of the technology and if they go under, it wont stop people from using the product.

            • by extrasolar (28341)

              All you need with a federated service like identi.ca is a small percentage of the participants to host a server. and those people just need a hosting account they can get out of their disposable income.

              So you see the problem...

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:46AM (#26496793)

      The thing is a lot of this stuff, I'm thinking especially of microblogging since that has really been something I've been interested in a quite a bit recently, will not go away because a lot of people really enjoy using the technology. That it is difficult to turn that into a way to make money makes me happy. So what if twitter fails?

      While I agree with your sentiment, I don't see the use of microblogs such as twitter. Regular blogs attract me as a possible source of information and well written information from someone more informed than a journalist at times.

      All I see in microblogs is the internet version of that person calling home from the supermarket asking their insignificant other whether to get 1% or skim milk and other such nonsense.

      Which isn't to say whether it has any real social value or not will make it fail as a business... it's just that I don't think it will really matter.

      • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:19AM (#26496969) Homepage Journal

        Right now on twitter I'm following @bashcookbook and I get a bash tip every day. I also follow @thaumatrope and read little 140 character slivers of science fiction stories. @Outshine calls theirs prose poetry and it is all with a speculative fiction type spin. @oreillymedia keeps me up to date on oreilly stuff including conferences, web casts, new books and things they have on-line like blog posts and interviews.
         
        This may not be your cup of tea - but for a lot of people it is a very popular way to receive and share information. The other people I follow are individuals who are pretty well known (Wil Wheaton, Jon Scalzi, Tim O'Reilly, etc.) and I'm interested in things like what they are doing, what they are reading, stuff like that.
         
        Does all that matter? I'm not sure, it all depends on context. But to me personally it matters right now. There is also the fact that now that I have a number of friends who are also on twitter we are able to use it as a way of keeping in touch. Of course we could use instant messaging or email - but we don't. If we need to say something longer we use another method - but throughout the day twitter is usually enough.
         
        Oh - and with the ability to search through all of this - it becomes an index of sorts as many microblog posts point to other places on the web. That's another feature that I believe brings real value. And I know that this is also available in other platforms - but what I've seen happen is that many people tend to microblog much more freely than they will do a regular blog post. So in the end it will get more information out there.
         
        I've been thinking about this a lot in the last few weeks - which may be obvious. I just put in a request to host a project at source forge for a microblogging tool I'd like to build. So there's my bias. I'm pretty excited about what I see as some cool possibilities. Of course not everyone will be on board with this. It may never grow beyond a niche thing. But I remember the first time I was on facebook and thought "What is the point and who is ever going to do this?" Of course now just about everyone I know is on facebook.

        • by wisty (1335733)

          Why not just use email lists? Except that emails get bloated, and so you can't view a days email on one page. Still, it's only a marginal improvement.

        • Ugh... mailing lists and RSS.

          But whatever, twitter is *hip* right now, I should be quite.

          I'm interested in things like what they are doing, what they are reading, stuff like that.

          blog, rss?

          There is also the fact that now that I have a number of friends who are also on twitter we are able to use it as a way of keeping in touch

          If there is any value in microblogging at all, I think that's it.

          Oh - and with the ability to search through all of this - it becomes an index of sorts as many microblog posts point to other places on the web.

          Gosh... need I say anything here? ;)

          but what I've seen happen is that many people tend to microblog much more freely than they will do a regular blog post.

          When I want to read other people's brain farts (or cut my own), I go to Slashdot or other forums ;)
          I guess I might be interested in what my friends are doing now and then, and we rarely write full emails back and forth.

          I'm not saying it's useless, but it is the cheapest form of communication, short text messa

        • by zarlino (985890)
          Why can't everyone microblog on its own frigging server?
      • by AmberBlackCat (829689) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:20AM (#26496977)
        What's really wild is your entire post is the same kind of "microblog" stuff that you just said doesn't matter.
        • Which is why the summary is bad.

          Microblogging is wildly popular on facebook already. The only way microblogging will go away is for facebook to go away.

          Even then... really microblogging has been going on for years. In people's Sigs and in people's custom status messages in AIM, MSN and ICQ.

          "Username - Things people should stop eating pesticide ridden apples."

          That's a microblog. It's just not posted on a site or medium dedicated to them.

          What we're going to see is it go distributed. Your twitter feed will

      • but you've just described a use for twitter.

        just because it doesn't serve the same purpose as regular blogs doesn't mean it's not serving it purpose. i mean, post-it notes aren't going to provide you with the same depth/quality of content as an academic paper, but that isn't to say they're not useful. "unimportant," perhaps, but there are clearly lots of practical uses for such disposable micro-stationary.

        these days people increasingly are connected to the internet/web more and more. they're on the web at w

      • by edmicman (830206)
        I'm not really sure where to throw this out there, so I'm just gonna do it:

        On top of the usefulness of micro-blogging and other social media connections, I think we [I?] will run into either a distillation of a common platform, or spin out of control into chaos. Ok, so twitter can be useful to post out content in short blips, that wouldn't otherwise be useful in the context of a blog. A full-blown blog lets me analyze and write exactly what I want. But my facebook profile probably gives me more exposu
      • While I agree with your sentiment, I don't see the use of microblogs such as twitter. Regular blogs attract me as a possible source of information and well written information from someone more informed than a journalist at times. All I see in microblogs is the internet version of that person calling home from the supermarket asking their insignificant other whether to get 1% or skim milk and other such nonsense. Which isn't to say whether it has any real social value or not will make it fail as a business... it's just that I don't think it will really matter..

        Kind of irrelevant if people are enjoying using it, isn't it? I don't see the sense, you don't see the sense... but there are millions who do...

      • How many scandals have there been in which major bloggers on (insert subject here) have been bribed to post favorable reviews.

        Lets drift a bit from the internet as well, how about hannity and faux news? Multi-million person audiences watching the media equivalent of a strip-club garbage chute.

    • by owlnation (858981)
      That's a good post. The problem with a lot of these technologies is that, although there is a genuine use for them, the true user base is far lower than the actual number of registered users.

      The thing that is particularly annoying about them, is that the people who created them want to create as much buzz as possible and sellout before they go out of fashion -- and they all DO go out of fashion, because the majority of users are only using them since all they friends are, only to move on to the next thin
  • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:36AM (#26496725) Journal

    This kind of news got pretty popular lately. There was at least one similar story past week. And it's logical (and boring too). Of course some random stuff will fail in 2009, because we have a global recession. Now every kind of journalists are trying to make predictions, which is like playing lotto (for those journalists who are stupid and can't really make an indepth analysis, which is way too difficult, anyway). Then in 2010 it will turn out that some random journalist was right, and he will win the prize "I was right!". Meh.

    • by AmberBlackCat (829689) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:28AM (#26497053)
      I think that's because it's easier to figure out what doesn't work, than it is to figure out what does work. It's like trying to pick which runner will lose the race instead of picking the winner. If you have 10 runners, you have a 90% chance of picking a loser and a 10% chance of picking a winner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cferthorney (1041204)
      Every year people predict things, it's almost the journalists version of New Year Resolutions. Predict something and see if you are right. If you are then as you say you get to say "I was right" but if you are wrong you conveniently forget you ever wrote said article and rely on Google cache cleaning itself up.

      The world will be a different place after this recession - and so will the web. I don't think however we should all update our microblogs saying "The end of Web 2.0 is nigh" just yet.
    • by extrasolar (28341)

      But I don't think it's purely random either. It's all of those pants gnomes business plans out there that really make you wonder:

      1. Provide a free service to upload and share videos!
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

      1. Make a platform for people to send short messages to anyone who subscribes at once!
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

      Like that.

    • by zobier (585066)

      Something that's going to fail this year:

        * "$x is going to fail this year" news articles

      .
      Well, one can hope.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:40AM (#26496757) Journal

    They are only about two months away from following Circuit City's path, due to more-and-more people streaming their radio off the net or off their cellphones, instead of satellite.

    • by LordKaT (619540)

      due to more-and-more people streaming their radio off the net or off their cellphones, instead of satellite.

      Funny, I thought it was because they have billions in payments due this year.

      • Which is due to a shortfall in income from subscribers, which is due to subscribers moving to other alternatives like Net radio.

        • by NuGeo (824600)

          I find it very doubtful that the average person who would subscribe to XM/Sirius is now streaming "Net radio" in their cars. What's more likely is people are just penny pinching and discontinuing their subscriptions and simply going back to their terrestrial radio, CDs, or iPods.

        • by edmicman (830206)
          Can I realistically get net radio in my car, in a convenient and easy-to-use form?
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:17AM (#26496963) Homepage Journal

      For the satellite service, Sirius/XM's main market are car drivers. Streaming radio isn't going to have much of an impact, nor are cellphones with radios built into them. It's also worth noting that most Sirius subscribers I know are attracted in large part because of Sirius's own streaming service. They listen to the satellite in the car, and then listen to the same Sirius-exclusive stations via streaming from their computers at work.

      It's possible that in five years, ubiquitous LTE coverage will mean streaming radio to cars will suddenly start to become viable, but XM/Sirius has an opportunity to carve out a niche in the meantime, and at that point Sirius/XM will become more of a seller of streaming services than a satellite operator.

      While they're not doing well, there's no reason to believe that they have an unviable business model. As long as they provide a portal to subscription funded ad-free content, they're going to attract a market. A move from satellite based distribution to streaming will probably end up helping them more than hindering them, as they'll no longer need to fund the distribution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You can't listen to your Cellphone as it streams wireless radio in your car? Or Ipods in your car?

        I think satellite radio is going the same way as the VCR - slowly but surely being replaced by other technologies.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:04PM (#26497841) Homepage Journal

          You can't listen to your Cellphone as it streams wireless radio in your car?

          Ok, first thing: "Wireless radio". Think about it.

          Second thing: No. If you're referring to cellphones with radios built in, there's no point: cars already have built-in radios.

          If you're referring to connecting to a streaming radio service using the wireless Internet, the vast majority of cellphones offer no such facility. Even when they do, you're going to have to find a streaming service worth listening to (hey, here's an idea, subscribe to Sirius!) The free streaming services I've seen are generally either rebroadcasts of radio-accessible content (your car already has a radio), or ad-supported music stations (or non-ad supported stations that'll exist fleetingly at best.) You'll also generally have to pay more for your data subscription than the $12 per month Sirius charges for its content.

          The point of Sirius-XM is not "woo! we have satellites!", it's "we have high quality content, you pay for it by subscribing rather than buying advertiser's products". If you're obsessing about how "technologies" are going to make "Sirius-XM" obsolete, then you have no idea what Sirius-XM is and you've ignored the part of my comment where I pointed out Sirius-XM can exist without satellites.

          Or Ipods in your car?

          iPods contain a fixed collection of content that can only be updated when you're at a computer, with items you select in advance. I can't even begin to imagine why you'd bring them up as a Sirius-XM competitor.

          • a streaming radio service using the wireless Internet, the vast majority of cellphones offer no such facility. Even when they do, you're going to have to find a streaming service worth listening to

            Podcasts and streaming audio work fine on my Windows Mobile HTC Titan on Sprint as I drive. I personally like the Resco Radio application but there are at least five other mature media players that do streaming. I can also use Orb to stream my *own* audio (and video) from my home server over the net. And then of c

            • by edmicman (830206)
              Quantity always outweighs quality, too!
            • Your response to my comment that streaming radio over cellphone connections is expensive and not supported by the majority of cellphones appears to be that you have a fairly uncommon (and generally not desirable) cellphone that you use to stream radio over an expensive EVDO connection. You also appear to have added another argument that how you do it is convoluted and unlikely to be considered user friendly (or even usable) to the vast majority of people, who just want something that "just works" - somethi

              • stream radio over an expensive EVDO connection.

                My "expensive" EVDO connection costs $30/month for unlimited internet access and texts, and includes voice minutes as well.

                As regards your conflation of "uncommon" with unavailable, I dispute that. Most of the cheaper, consumer phones from Sprint now seem to come bundled with SprintTV (a rebranded MobiTV) and some sort of music streaming service. I gather it's similar with Verizon and the otherc arriers. Personally, I avoid those "value added" services because

                • My "expensive" EVDO connection costs $30/month for unlimited internet access and texts, and includes voice minutes as well.

                  Sirius costs $12 a month, or $10 a month if bought a year in advance.

                  Most of the cheaper, consumer phones from Sprint...

                  Yeah, we're still trying to go for something popular here.

                  Hmm. Slide to unlock phone. Click "Radio". Click "Favourites". Click channel. Listen.

                  So you installed third party applications by sliding open the phone, clicking "Radio", clicking "Favourites", selecting

                  • I should have known there would be an invocation to iTunes somewhere in all this...

                    based upon a clumsy interface that's a liability when placed in a car.

                    I was dumbing it down for you. For driving I actually use the voice interface for the phone. I want to call someone, I can say "Call X". I want the radio, I can say "Play Radio". It just works. The voice command program came built in courtesy of HTC and it seems to work pretty well. I know there are more advanced voice control software programs but this one

          • by jschottm (317343)

            It's possible that in five years, ubiquitous LTE coverage will mean streaming radio to cars will suddenly start to become viable, but XM/Sirius has an opportunity to carve out a niche in the meantime, and at that point Sirius/XM will become more of a seller of streaming services than a satellite operator.

            If they go bankrupt in the immediate future, they have no opportunity to carve out a niche. It doesn't just look bad for their future, it looks dire [aol.com]. Even if they do manage to survive, having the legacy o

          • >>>Ok, first thing: "Wireless radio". Think about it.

            Okay. (thinks). It occurs to me that not all radio is wireless. For example, the radiowaves you receive from your cable company is not wireless. Neither is MIX106.5 when I listen to it via my computer.

          • >>>>> Or Ipods in your car?

            >>>iPods contain a fixed collection of content that can only be updated when you're at a computer, with items you select in advance. I can't even begin to imagine why you'd bring them up as a Sirius-XM competitor.

            Ipods can hold more music than a typical radio station's playlist, and without the annoyance of ads, or songs you don't like (rap). As for quality, Sirius compresses their music to 32 kbit/s - hardly what I call quality.

            • iPods are also white, whereas most Sirius receivers I've seen are black. And iPods have colour screens too.

              I raise those points because they don't answer anything raised by the comment you were responding to either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zerth (26112)

        I bought a Focus recently. It came with both Sirius and Sync, which takes just about anything with a USB plug or bluetooth.

        I was rather liking Sirius, as it had several channels of rock, electronic, opera, etc. so I heard lots of new music that I wouldn't hear on the radio.

        Then they merged with XM, dropped most of the channels I listened to, and my free trial ran out.

        About then I realized that for the cost of Sirius I could stick a 500 gig hard drive in the Sync and buy a hundred or two new songs every yea

    • I'm a blue water sailor. I use Sirius off shore and in the Bahamas and in the Caribbean. Without Sirius we will be forced to resort to old fashioned analog short wave radio, with the squawks and crackles.

      I don't use it for music, but it's irreplaceable for news and NPR. Next Tuesday I'll use it to listen to Obama's speech. Still haven't seen that man's face on TV, but I'm familiar with his voice on Sirius.

      I can hardly claim that blue water sailors and cruise ships and others outside Internet/phone cover

      • You're kidding right?

        Cruise lines are a massive market. There are entire shipyards dedicated to them.

        A properly managed Sirius/XM could shift focus from average customers to cruise lines (while still keeping single user service)

        Tangentially, I listen to WRAS where I am, and while it's been getting watered down lately it's much much better than anything else nationwide. I'm thinking of moving to a better job market and am checking into satellite radio to see if they're carried.

  • I'm not quite sure why they see microblogs failing. They might not work as a business model for a large enterprise, but as a method of generating extra personal revenue, they get the job done.

    • Especially with the open source laconica powering http://identi.ca/ [identi.ca] and Google's Jaiku going Open Source. I think they'll exist, but yeah, I guess it costs money to run servers! People paid for LJ accounts though, didn't they?

      • identi.ca allows for federation which means the cost can be distributed. No single company has to generate enough revenue to support some huge structure. You just need lots of little servers connected to one another and tons of people are already doing that.

  • Just yesterday I was reading (it's behind a paywall I think, I get the newspaper) that online video views and more notably video ad views are going to be higher this year, and continue growth for the next few years. I don't know if everything listed will succeed, and I mentioned to a friend that I had doubts on Twitter making it through the year (I'd say they could start charging, but people just flock to the next startup like FriendFeed, then when that dies, something else), and he had mentioned he had th

  • by xaxa (988988) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:10AM (#26496909)

    About 6 months ago I signed up to Blyk [blyk.co.uk], a "free" mobile network for 16-25 year olds, which gave subscribers 43 minutes call time and 217 texts free per month (plenty for what I use). It was supported by advertising, every day I'd receive either an MMS or SMS with an advert, typically for clothes and music (that's what my demographic is meant to waste its money on, isn't it? Well, that and booze.)

    Anyway, I haven't had an advert since about Christmas, and yesterday got a text from Blyk saying they were changing the deal to £15/month free credit, which works out as less texts/minutes at their prices (8p per text, 24p/min call). Maybe the business model wasn't quite as good as predicted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tompaulco (629533)
      That sounds like Netzero. They started out offering free internet that was ad-supported. Hence the name. Then they discovered they couldn't make money that way, and eventually ended up charging about the same as all the other ISPs. They look pretty stupid calling themselves NetZero now. And when they come on their commercials and say "we started Netzero to provide low cost internet..." I have to restrain myself from arguing with the guy on the ad.
  • by the_arrow (171557) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:16AM (#26496961) Homepage

    It's been a sweet ride, but goodbye Slashdot! See you on the other side!

    • by MarkRose (820682) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:31PM (#26497549) Homepage

      Actually, the death of Slashdot is a blessing in disguise. You see, Slashdot is entirely responsible for the current global economic crises. When a nerd or other smart person first reads this site, he or she is instantly hooked on the discourse with other nerds, even if it's just inane drivel. As more and more nerds get addicted to Slashdot, productive grinds to a halt, causing companies to fail. The happened first in North America with the dotcom crash. As ubiquitous internet access spread around the world, so did Slashdot's productivity sucking force. That is why we're now in a global recession, except for Africa where there's been an on going recession ever since an unfortunately soul laid out a stone and a stick in a /. pattern thousands of years ago. Cowboy Neal is nobody more than a drug runner for the Bilderberger Group who plan to control all the intelligence in the world with their Slashdot drug.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Evil Pete (73279)

        Cowboy Neal is nobody more than a drug runner for the Bilderberger Group who plan to control all the intelligence in the world with their Slashdot drug.

        I see, it's all so clear now. It is actually Cowboy Neal Stephenson, and he is peddling Slash Crash to the tech community resulting in a reverse technological singularity.

  • Evolve with trends (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:25AM (#26497029) Homepage Journal
    In order to survive, many of these sites and companies will just have to do the unthinkable and evolve to keep up with web trends.

    For a good discussion of where the trends could be going, read this article: http://tech.lds.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=371&Itemid=5 [lds.org]
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:19PM (#26497431) Homepage

    "Targeted advertising" has real problems. Ads on search results pages are valuable, because they're presented at the point that the user is actively looking for something. Vaguely relevant ads on other pages (the "Google Content Network" comes to mind) are a distraction, and far less valuable. Clicks on such ads are mostly from the 10% of web users who make 50% of the clicks, but don't buy much. Many advertisers have opted out of the Google Content Network (read Search Engine Watch [searchenginewatch.com]). As we point out, about 36% of Google Content Network advertisers are "bottom-feeders" [sitetruth.net], junk sites with no verifiable business behind them. There's been a slow decline in contextual advertising, and I expect that to continue, and maybe accelerate. Ad-supported sites will feel the squeeze.

    Targeted advertising is effective if the advertiser has the user's buying history. Amazon exploits this successfully; they know exactly what you've bought. But spreading that information around creates privacy problems and loud objections. Merchants aren't keen about letting their competitors know who their best customers are. Payment companies like Visa and PayPay could in theory take that role, but they've been reluctant to do so for fear of regulatory backlash. Payment companies don't currently know what you bought, just who you bought it from. They'd need merchant cooperation to profile their customer base.

    What this may mean is a network effect for broad-based online merchants like Amazon. The bigger they get, the better their targeted advertising becomes. Customers don't object, because they're dealing with one company which legitimately knows what they've bought. Amazon may take up the slack as brick-and-mortar stores go under. In consumer electronics, Circuit City, The Good Guys, CompUSA, etc. have all gone under, and Amazon is taking up much of the slack.

    • by Mex (191941)

      The Google Content Network will remain viable and profitable for businesses as long as Google remains on the ball with context advertising.

      As a customer, I've bought many a thing that I wasn't actively searching for, but the ad was there at the right time in the right webpage. Recently, some vitamins and supplements while reading about the benefits of fish oils, for instance. Another was a set of strings while reading an interview with Eric Clapton, I just happened to think "Yeah I think I needed to buy str

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Animats (122034)

        I agree about needing to weed out the bottom feeders, but I remember reading that Google still makes a pretty penny out of them, so I doubt they'll ban them

        The "bottom feeders" are mostly into ad arbitrage. They're not selling anything; they're just sending users to pages with more ads. The advertisers whose ads appear on those pages didn't ask to be there; they were stuck there by Google. And they don't like paying for those useless clicks.

  • My thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Junta (36770) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:59PM (#26497783)

    I agree with the perspective on microblogging as athe only thing a site does. I just don't see the revenue stream in something like that inherently. I do see the alternative possibility that Twitter becomes a brand name and licenses their presence to be integrated in other sites. I think there will be a focus on bringing together currently disparate aspects of 'social networking' and revenue strategies to evolve. Currently, I don't think the revenue streams can stand on their own, but social networking is too ubiquitous and popular for *no one* to get a rational business plan going.

    I think the outlook on targeted advertising is particular. The only aspect that is potentially interesting is that too much money went in and set impossible expectations. However, the quality of the advertising I think too significant to discount. Interactive, targeted advertising is something leaps and bounds over television. There are a few hotspots on television where almost everyone will see advertising, and some shows with such a narrow fanbase it actually turns out to be kind of targeted. However, the production cost to participate is non-trivial, and viewers have to take it upon themselves to write down details to research it later if they have never heard of the product. Also, the ubiquity of DVR reduces the exposure to ads.

    The statement on social news had nothing to do with the value of social news sites, and everything to do with neglecting a business plan. This is no surprise.

    On online video, they claim that other than YouTube and Hulu, little will be left. I would support the statement, with the note that Porn content sites will continue.

    On online radio, I would be reluctant to say that's out, but again the focus is not inherent flaws, but rather the recording industries being resistant towards that model and making life hard intentionally. The recording indutry is ass-backwards enough to sink an industry that would be highly valuable to them.

  • by Lordfly (590616) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:56PM (#26498333) Homepage Journal

    ...to fail in 2009. Not all of them, obviously. Second Life will continue to trundle along (although they've lost about 3000 servers the last few months due to a rather unfortunate series of "gotcha" price increases), mostly due to its user content.

    There's an entire industry of virtual worlds stuff, and almost every single startup in this space does the exact same thing: Take Second Life, remove the user content, add in dancing, music, and social networking embedding. Voila! Instant startup. We're talking dozens of companies doing the exact same thing over and over again.

    So those guys are dead.

    PS3's Home is dead on arrival (no user content). Google Lively's already dead. Any "enterprise" use of virtual worlds is in the research phase (or just using open source alternatives like OpenSim).

    Anyone investing in virtual worlds tech in 2009 is a chump, sorry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ToasterMonkey (467067)

      Home COULD work, but they need to add some very basic stuff first.

      Consoles haven't had IM or chatroom features for a long time even thought they've been steadily building up multiplayer online games.
      From what I understand, Xbox Live has some kind if chat room features too, but I think it's based on inviting people from your friends list. Prior to Home, you could do the same on PSN. I think the more mature, older gamers don't like the idea of adding random strangers we play games with to a "friends" list,

      • Sorry, replying to myself

        I honestly think a reliance on user-generated content is a sign the social aspect is seriously broke. If the virt world doesn't facilitate communicating about the real world, fake world crap is the answer.

    • by DUdsen (545226)

      You're once again faced with the dilemma of profitiblity virtual worlds in the sense of eve online UO WoW and similar have their loyal userbase willing to pay but the content needs to be developed at huge costs before your service gets there, and you cant run for long without adding more content.

      Every other web 2.0 service face the same dilemma, either you cut your prize almost below operating cost or you spend spend spend on content. both ways makes it look a lot less like the get rich now scheme the VC in

  • DRM (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kingrames (858416) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:49PM (#26498831)
    DRM all over again. and again. and again.
  • by Evil Pete (73279) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @05:20PM (#26500105) Homepage

    and an onslaught of startups with no purpose or plan to make money

    Is it just me or does this sound like the 2000 bubble all over again?

  • Startups need to compete with t-bills for money. Expect most of the technology money to go into t-bills to fund government economic plans. The economic plans are so far focused on housing & social services.

  • With the price of oil so low and still sliding, all those green energy startups that started up in the last couple of years are now bleeding money and have little chance for profitability. Their only hope is massive government subsidies or a miraculous economic recovery to bring back the price of oil to $100+ a barrel.
  • There are two companies that refuse to die despite the fact the the original concept failed miserably almost 50 years ago. Trisenxâ(TM)s scent dome and DigiScents' iSmell both have been promising to produce "smell-o-vision" for computers for years. I'm not sure whether they're actually this clueless themselves, or whether they're hoping to latch onto an even more clueless venture capitalist. Either way, here's hoping those involved suffer a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious and let the poor crippled ide

  • Online distribution of hi definition content is the future. We're seeing services like Netflix, and Amazon unbox flirting with the idea, and I'm convinced that this will kill bluray like bluray killed hd-dvd.
    • Online distribution of hi definition content is the future. We're seeing services like Netflix, and Amazon unbox flirting with the idea, and I'm convinced that this will kill bluray like bluray killed hd-dvd.

      Because when I want to see a classic visual masterpiece like akira, I want it to be covered in huge blocks, green splotches, and artefacts, and i want to rent rather than own it.

      Now the DRM on these disks is annoying as hell, but you still own the disk and the DRM can be cracked more easily client side than server side.

  • Well. I guess that you can found bad companies again when the next hype phase comes.
  • News sites reliant on Economic Fearmongering

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