Top Growth Areas On the Internet in the Next 5 Years (microgeist.com)

Extract from above site (my notes in italics)

1. Small Businesses In Niche Areas
Previously businesses in niche areas had to struggle to find markets for their products. Today, sub-cultures and small communities with people who would be interested in a given niche product are easily searchable. This makes sourcing clients much easier. In terms of web and internet related services many new fields are likely to open up as the quality and variety of media continues to grow.

2. Information Products
Universities, attempting to maintain a comprehensive and holistic approach to learning will soon find themselves unable to keep up with the rate of change on the internet. It is simply not possible to weave a full course of humanities related studies into the core money making components of coding, design and new technology implementation.

Educational impact: ditto for schools

3. Better Peer Based Searching
Google does a wonderful job of archiving the whole internet and using code to separate out legitimate sites from those that are trying to game the system. For more long tail niches, there is less incentive to use SEO to drive up rankings. In more competitive and profitable areas, however, SEO optimization drives out some really valuable finds. Social book marking alleviates some of this, but the bookmarks that surface at the top only do so after several days or even weeks. There is a real need for sites and resources that are immediate and highly relevant to a community. This is because when referenced by a group of people, a valuable resource can drive conversation and innovation. Conversation and innovation are the main value of social networks. If Google doesn’t work to fill this gap, someone else will. What is more likely to happen however, is that a loose infrastructure that joins various social networks will emerge. Opensocial comes to mind. If the infrastructure remains loose, and therefore flexible many opportunities for creative implementation will emerge.

(Emboldening: my own.Implicarions for creatrive thinking in learning platforms and educaional VLEs.)

4. Peer, Life and Work Partner Matching
Anyone who has read even a few posts on how to use Facebook or LinkedIn for marketing and networking will understand the vast amount of time it takes to make things happen. In the non-internet space there have always been the Attention Deficit Disorder types who are good at making connections but not particularly good at focusing on a given task. Such people have always made a place for themselves by making deals happen and taking a commission. There is no reason this cannot happen on the Internet. In fact, the speed at which things move in cyberspace may actually be able to keep up with their racing minds.

5. Auto-Customized Products
It is already possible to order a small lot of mugs, shirts and caps with your own customized logo on it. This trend is likely to continue and manufacturing automation and outsourcing continue. As people become more accustomed to customization in their knowledge and information streams, they will also expect more customization is their clothes, music and lifestyles.

6. Cottage Industries
Cottage industries have such a name because they are small and generate enough income to live in a cottage. This will rapidly change as owners of these businesses either implement or outsource social media strategies to reach a wider audience. Many of these products have a subculture or hobbyist community around them. Any cottage business that can appeal to this need will be able to retain, educate and upsell customers with greater ease.

7. Media Production
At present, large companies are having a lot of fun with low tech production as a kind of play on Internet culture that lends an air of authenticity to the production. As they continue to lose market share, however, they will up production values once again in order to differentiate themselves. This will speed up as the bandwidth pipe expands to allow HD and things like surround sound. Smaller companies will be pushed to a) meet a certain standard in production quality or b) be ever more creative. Both efforts will most likely be outsourced since the complexity is likely to grow. This means a lot of work for smaller video/sound/interactive media studios.

8. Internet Presenters/Actors
As the above mentioned production values cause an increase in spending, acting talent will also be in high demand. Instead of less than 10 channels to choose from, every site will more than likely have a
‘public face’ that represents the company. Many times, this may be the business owner him or herself. On other occasions, they may want something a bit more produced. That’s hundreds of thousands of broadcast channels looking for actors. They pay may start marginally higher than that of the community theater, but the pay scale will be spread out more evenly and may actually employ a large number of people comfortably instead of just a few.

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