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Internet marketing predictions for 2006

Internet marketing has been making some pretty dramatic changes over the last few years, like the growth and evolution of the search engine optimization industry, viral marketing, pay-per-click advertising and the mainstream adoption of blogging. Despite the recent changes I predict that even greater change is still yet to come, thanks in part to the growth of broadband internet access, advances in hardware and software technology, and marketers need to reach consumers through multiple mediums. As people's lives become more busy, fragmented media will result in more opportunities for both advertisers and web site owners. Standard advertising mediums such as television, radio and newspapers have been loosing effectiveness (partially because of new technologies like TiVo and XM Satalite Radio) while online advertising has become more effective. As an advertiser, there are more opportunities available than ever before to reach highly targeted prospects with a relatively small investment by advertising online. As a web site owner, there are more opportunities to generate additional revenue by providing advertising space on your web sites.

As people spend more time online, this trend will continue to grow. RSS will become a powerful, trackable marketing tool. In it's current form, it is a great tool for reaching out to people who have the technical background to use it but it does have some limitations. Many customizable web portals (My Yahoo) let users display RSS feeds on their home page, but require users to sign in with cookies. Some email programs can display RSS feeds and several programs have even been specifically designed for displaying RSS feeds.

However the user base is still fairly small. With the release of Microsoft's Windows Vista, RSS will become mainstream and be adopted by soccer moms everywhere. Once that happens you can expect to see tools developed to manage and track the traffic from RSS feeds. The search engine optimization industry is another area that will change considerably. All of the major search engine companies have taken considerable steps to reduce web site owner's (or an SEO firm's) ability to manipulate the ranking of their web sites. As the algorithms that determine the importance of a particular web page become more comprehensive and better able to filter out spam you will see two things happen. First, the search results will become more relevant. Second, the SEO firms that are using dishonest techniques in an attempt to rank higher will collapse one by one until only honest, ethical firms exist.


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