[Direction of the Web] – It is unclear to me where the Web is headed in the very near future. The big guys (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) seem to be a bit lost. In addition, no clear trends or “hot spaces” are emerging. Social networking seems to have cooled down a bit and micro-blogging, though still rising in popularity, seems to be taking a breather.
A few categories are showing promise, but lacking overall direction. These include online video, wikis, podcasting, and personal finances (to name a few). It seems that interest in these areas is present as many players continue to enter the game. Having said that, no-one seems to know how each space will play out. Everyone is providing their own take on the situation, choosing a different audience, vertical, or worse yet, generalizing.
What I’m surprised about is the lack of focus around local. I truly believe this to be the most lucrative niche by far. After all, it relates to real people – think Craigslist or YellowPages. Let’s be honest with ourselves – blog aggregators and social bookmarking sites preach the choir.
With local, a revenue model is not only achievable, but feasible. It’s also sustainable as people can relate (and understand) the business model. Whether income is generated via targeted advertising or premium directory placement, local is an area that needs to be explored more thoroughly.
What do you see in the near-term future of the Web? What sectors will catch fire and which will fizzle out?