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12 Troubling Predictions For Internet Marketers In 2012

I couldn’t believe my Gmail inbox.

I had just received an email from an old friend Bradley. For as long as I’ve known him he’s been pulling a healthy 6 figures a year working in the international finance division of a major commercial bank. After nearly 15 years pushing a desk they cut him a month before Christmas 2011.

Bradley had been speaking with a mutual friend who had mentioned that I had been making a lot of money online for about the same length of time as Bradley did working at the bank. Let me paraphrase his message for you. (profanity changed to protect the sensitive).

“Hi David it’s Bradley. Those bast*()ds finally f(*ked me. I heard you’re making out like a gangsta on the world-wide web. I need to make at least $150K a year, got anything you can send my way? I needs to make it rain paper up in here yo! I got about 6 months to make it, otherwise I have to get another shi&^ty job. Let me know, peace homie!”

I always chuckle when middle-aged white guys channel their inner rapper. I can only imagine what kind of language investment bankers actually use. Loved it when he called it the world-wide web, so 1995. I was hoping for “information super highway”.

He needs to make $150K within 6 months. What should I tell him?

What would you have told Bradley if you were me?

I phoned him. How non-internet. I asked him to read a book by Harvey McKay called Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty Dumbass.

Things got a little heated. He’s my age, and has made over $2 million in salary in 18 years of gainful employment. He has a $800,000 mortgage, 2 car payments, a kid in private school, and a monthly nut nearly in the 5 figures. I told him to get a job, any job as soon as possible. Either that or embrace the minimalist lifestyle and make some drastic, humongous changes.

Of course he asked me about the web. He had heard people were making crazy money online. He had heard that you could outsource to India to ghost write a book for you, then outsource someone to write your ads and run your operations and send you a check once a month. He heard it only took a couple of hours a week.

I was tempted to run the scene from Vegas Vacation with Chevy Chase and the little guy from Princess Bride on him. “You give me ten grand, we’ll go out back, I’ll kick you in the nuts, and you’ll say thanks.” I’ve been to a few internet marketing conferences like that, how about you?

The entire discussion, while mildly entertaining was frankly, terrifying. How can there still be middle-aged guys running around as if it’s still the shiny happy days where the stock market and house prices went only up and jobs were plentiful?

I’ve been making money online since 1994. I’ve ridden out the dark days of the late nineties where everything was theoretical, the Dotcom Bust of 2000, the web 2.0 revolution of the past 5 or 6 years, and now the impending Second Internet Bust. I cobbled together for you 12 predictions for next year based on my observations and belief of what’s really going on out there.

1. The Facebook Fade

Find me 10 guys that are making ads on Facebook convert profitably. No, Shoemoney doesn’t count. He’s a genius. Find the solopreneur that’s cracked Facebook and I’ll show you a guy selling stuff that he won’t be selling a year from now. Ringtones? Acai skinny pills?  Seriously, that’s your long term viable business model?

I was in a conference room about 8 months ago with an angel investor that plays in the invite-only dark pools with other stock holders in Facebook. I asked him if he was worried about the MySpace phenomenon repeating with Facebook. He had never heard of Myspace. He had money in a game that he didn’t understand. I was gobsmacked. This guy was driving towards the edge of the Grand Canyon in a convertible Mustang with Van Halen cranking.

I predict by the end of 2012 Facebook will begin to twitch and smell a bit like Blockbuster Video did in 2006.

Do you make any money with Facebook, or is it just a schnozzle of crapola?

2. The Impending Google – Apple War

Apple loves to give clues if we just pay attention. As network television collapses, will the model slowly become private, paid subscription services?  Apple does something elegant, Google copies clumsily. Google Books, Google Music, Google Movies. Isn’t their core competency serving ads?

When I turn on my AppleTV, Vimeo appears. It’s better than YouTube. No ads. Better quality. Less videos of dogs farting. Apple is giving us a big clue to the future of online video. If you look closely you see subscriptions to watch baseball, football and hockey. The battle over TV will be waged with battle-axe and crossbow.

In 2012 I predict things get heated between the two behemoths, with small skirmishes as a prelude to all-out war.

3. Massive Deflationary Disruptions Accelerate

Music is pricing itself at near zero. An artist gets paid 75 cents from iTunes on a download, and yet has to endure 3500 streams on Pandora or Spotify for the same meagre pennies. My 24-year-old niece’s boyfriend stared in horror when I asked for an iTunes gift card for Christmas. He whispered to her, “does he need help learning how to use a torrent?”

Movies, music, TV, and publishing are all upside down. But so is accounting, payroll, book-keeping and graphic design. The popularity of micro-outsourcing sites like Fiverr.com continue to accelerate. The outsourcing of projects will continue to flow to the lowest possible price point that still gets the job done. Helicopter Ben can print greenbacks as fast as he wants, I still won’t pay more than $5 for a 9 hub link wheel for SEO.

4. Geo Arbitrage Accelerates

Tim Ferriss fan boys who sold all their stuff and grabbed a bag with 50 things and headed overseas a few years ago look like geniuses. While their domestic counterparts get sprayed in the face with orange food products and beaten with billy clubs, the smart ones are sitting on a beach with their Macbook Airs earning in dollars, pounds and euros and eating out in pesos and dinars and whatever the heck they spend doing Ashtanga in MySore India.

With most western democracies struggling with unemployment, corruption, fascism, bankruptcy and social chaos, small towns in emerging markets look like smart choices for extended working holidays in 2012.

If you are smart, and willing to travel, the world is your playground.

5.  People Will Buy Solutions to Problems

My in-laws live in Greece. My father-in-law has had a backyard garden for 52 years. Guess how many of the nephews that live in Athens have gardens? Zero. It’s not cool. The youth wanted to forget the hard days after fascism fell after the war. Getting dirty was part of that. Olives rot on the trees because no one will pick them.

Now that Greece is bankrupt and the nephews are paying tax for the first time since Socrates wore a toga, gardening is entering the discussion again. Except they don’t know how.

Enter an e-book based on relevant keyword analysis. How To Build A Raised Garden Bed. My wife is building raised garden beds in our backyard. So will tens of thousands of people in 2012. Gardening will be very popular in 2012.

People will buy solutions to real problems online this year. Videos showing how to fix things, do home repairs, car repairs, and tips on saving money will all be hot.

6. A 500 Year Old Career Model

When Leonardo Da Vinci was painting and sculpting and inventing, he didn’t cash royalty checks from a publisher or from his rich parents. He had a Benefactor. In the old days, rich people would personally sponsor artists. Apprentices would learn shipbuilding and barrel making and fishing net weaving from masters as well as painting and music. They would work for room and board learning a craft, then head out into the big bad world to make a living.

With the university student debt pyramid scam unraveling, smart young people will begin to seek out internet marketing masters to apprentice with. Paid coaching and tuition models will adapt accordingly. There are already informal campuses in Bali, Thailand and Philippines experimenting with this model.

I have three 20-somethings that I have adopted as apprentices for 10% of anything they make for 10 years. I trade my experience in leveraged blocks of time for future royalties. It’s a win-win for both parties.

7. Obesity Will Still Be A Hot Market

This is a no brainer. It’s a huge playground (no pun intended). The winners will be those that advertise locally and combine service businesses like menu planning and coaching with the latest hot workout. Over half of everyone that lives within 100 miles of you is overweight or obese. Over 90% have failed at a diet. They need hand-holding and encouragement.

8. Seniors Will Be A Hot Market

Seniors are either broke and want stuff done for them, or have money and want stuff done for them. Every 8 seconds someone turns 60 in North America. What do you think this means for driving on roads in the next decade? Think local, think service business. The silver-haired generation is more web savvy than you or I think.

9. Translating E-books in Amazon Will Be A Hot Market

If you or a partner have language and translation skills, then you have a recipe to print money. Amazon has operational stores in German, French, Italian and Spanish, with more to come. What about Asia? I personally am working on this in a big way in 2012. I’m constantly looking to joint venture with partners to get my books to a wider audience. My partners translate and sell for the lion’s share of the royalties. I’m not greedy.

10. Google Redefines Spam

Google’s tolerance for spam is approaching zero. Their patience for spammy niches is shrinking faster than Obama’s approval rating. Goodbye business opportunity marketers, pharma, “Pron”, gambling, and duplicate content. So long thin affiliates, and fluffy article sites. I have seen guys selling bizops with 6-figure monthly purchases of Adwords getting kicked out like a card counter in Vegas. Can your business survive without Google? It’s a great planning exercise and an excellent way to give yourself nightmares.

11. Big or Small. You Choose. The Middle Ground is a Killing Field.

Go big or go home when it comes to your start-up. Scale fast for a takeover play, or stay small. The supply of dumb investors with buckets of cash will vanish this year. When big names like Wikipedia and Twitter are whispered about nervously, you know that a high burn rate is not a good idea. I predict that a major house hold Web 2.0 name will sink by the end of 2012 beneath the waves, shocking many.

12. People With Good Credit Will Be Highly Desirable

Smart companies are building in-house lists of their best customers and are treating them well. Amazon Prime is an example. How many million customers does Amazon have a relationship with that can order with a single click? How about Apple? I bought an app yesterday with 2 clicks and never even thought about the $1.99. Over 100 million Americans have bad credit. But 50 million Americans have wonderful credit. Who do you think smart companies are searching for?

I’m still perplexed about my pal Bradley. He needs to make $150,000 a year within 6 months and has zero internet experience.

What would you tell him to do if he was YOUR friend?

David Ledoux is the author of half a dozen books including How I Went From Welfare To Millionaire Without Winning The Lottery. He coaches entrepreneurs, owns several businesses and writes a witty and irreverent blog at http://davidledoux.com. His newest book, 10 Quick & Easy Strategies For Successful Living is available for free at his website.

image © igor – Fotolia.com

Dave B. Ledoux is an early Internet pioneer. He has been building websites and making money online since 1994. He enjoys travelling with his wife, golf, paintball and World of Warcraft. Now semi-retired he spends his days helping his friends with their websites. He writes a witty and occasionally sardonic blog at David Ledoux Dot Com blog.

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{ 20 comments… add one }

  • GraySpirit January 30, 2012, 1:42 am

    Sorry about your friend. Am a senior who has packed up and moved abroad. Fortunately I have a reasonably decent pension, but I still have to be careful. I tend to agree about Facebook, don’t quite see how they or Google version of social media really met my needs. Anyway, I think in times like this people have to learn that quick riches don’t just pop up out on command.

  • Nikoya January 29, 2012, 1:29 am

    Everything here is very insightful. Especially about Facebook. Facebook is dead.

    The geriatric niche is a good idea too.

  • Jane January 23, 2012, 12:14 pm

    Your prediction about Facebook looks nice. As in sports and games the winning team will keep changing. No one will be a king forever. You might have provided a clue about who might take Facebook’s position or the cause for its dilution!

  • Milena K January 23, 2012, 4:09 am

    Excellent points! I am not sure what will happen to Facebook, its rival Google+ fails to impress so far so I don’t know what alternative there is. However, being informed and keeping track of what is happening on the net is the future. Your friend will face some tough times…
    Milena K recently posted..The Main Building Blocks of Every Website Part 2My Profile

  • mitz January 20, 2012, 8:42 pm

    It is very hard to teach someone how to be responsible are earning their own money when they have had a job, and the same job, for 18 years. This is a habit that has to be broken first.

    I would definitely tell your friend to go and find another job as building an Internet business does not happen overnight, especially if you have absolutely no experience.

    Then he could work on a project in his spare time and build something up that way. The problem is, that people with jobs are often choosing a safe option, and to dive into a business is a risk that they fear.
    mitz recently posted..7 Good Reasons Why Your Blog is Not Making MoneyMy Profile

  • Hamish January 20, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Hi Dave,

    There’s no shortage of ebooks that would help your friend make a lot more than $150k in 6 months – but I think that you did the right thing by telling him to get a job, any job. If it was that easy, nobody would be going into the 9-to-5 day in day out.

    I love this type of predictive post btw. I’m going along with one of the big social sites bombing in 2012. To be replaced by something new – but what?

    I also think that we haven’t seen a fraction of the fallout that’s going to come from ebook readers and tablet computers. My prediction – Amazon will be giving away free Kindles to Amazon Prime subscribers by the second half of 2012.
    Hamish recently posted..Kindle vs Nook – Who’s Winning?My Profile

  • Liane January 19, 2012, 11:10 am

    That was quite a read Dave! I feel like I’m reading one of those Nostradamus predictions that’s just looming in the sky! Even if I’m not really into the internet marketing field, the scope of their game (or yours) is far over-reaching to all spheres in the web.

    I only hope for the best. Anything abut another DotCom Bust (I was too young to remember the first one). Will subscribe to your list. Cheers!

    -Liane
    http://blogdesignteam.com/
    Liane recently posted..Say “Happy Birthday!” to BDT!My Profile

  • Neil January 19, 2012, 12:25 am

    Hi Dave,

    Some interesting predictions. The translation idea is an interesting one. Are you doing anything in Mandarin? Must be a huge potential market.

    I think that the definition of what is good credit will change over the next year or so. You may start to see people who thought they were a good credit risk slipping into the bad credit basket.

    I think your freind should stick to what he knows, get what he can in this market and adjust his outgoings to match his income (with a buffer for savings and pension)

  • Scott January 18, 2012, 6:32 pm

    I have to completely agree with you in your assessment on the future of Facebook. Writing an investment blog I will be dealing with a write up on the future IPO of Facebook (which will likely take place around summer time) in a post next week. My in depth analysis will be useful for investors because of my age as the other, being a twenty something. Those of us who survived through the earlier days of social media whether it was AIM, Yahoo Chat rooms, Xanga journals and even Myspace know a bit more about these sites than traditional investment analysts would. My thesis is that Facebook will not be successful in the long term. It’s IPO like many other social media and .com from the first bust will be quite successful and offer an opportunity for initial buyers to make a killing. However the value analysts are placing on it is pure hype and potentials. Facebook is one of the least liked companies in America and has a very limited, arguably annoying method of making income. Furthermore, how easy is their model to duplicate? Would anyone pay to use Facebook? Can they diversify beyond just a social media platform? Do they have any assets These are the questions you have to ask and ones I will be addressing in my write up. Thanks again for bringing this up. I look forward to reading more from you.
    Scott recently posted..Great Lakes Dredge & Dock GLDD is a Hidden Gem That’s Cheap!My Profile

  • pinkdeals January 18, 2012, 2:42 pm

    so the question is, what should your friend do? well, someone with zero internet knowledge will not be making $150K by himself within 6 months. and i wouldn’t encourage this if he has a family to take care of. many of my affiliate friends are under 25, and even if they lost it all, they could move back in with their mom. if it were my friend, i’d most likely tell him/her to lower their expenses (sell the expensive cars, toss out any unnecessary spending) and buckle down in a secure finance job that’s a steady 40 hours a week (and not an hour more) — because the reality is, at this very moment, he’s unemployed. put in the hours after work to learn about online marketing, and then make a decision if they even want to take on the risk. i mean, is he OK with sitting in front of his computer for 14-16 hours a day to start? you don’t start out at 2 hours a day. because he has a family, he needs to come up with a solid plan first. he’s obviously smart and capable, no reason to risk losing his family over the lure of an unknown, unpredictable industry.

  • mike January 18, 2012, 1:47 pm

    Hi Dave, enjoyed reading this. Can you offer more information on what you mean for #9? I have a German friend that has tried to make a business of translating for businesses, but it hasn’t taken off in the UK. Just wondering how she could go about making your prediction come true for 2012…

  • Rick Yeoman January 18, 2012, 1:24 pm

    I don’t believe in predictions cause they were just a matter of guess but I observe that these are possible and I can’t deny that fact. Let’s keep hoping for better economy in this whole year and for the rest of the years to come.
    Rick Yeoman recently posted..Mobile shopping increaseMy Profile

  • Hooker January 18, 2012, 12:09 pm

    I’ve noticed the decline in Facebook since the last update when they integrated that hideous news feed within a news feed. If the people don’t like it, it won’t survive. I predict the new timeline will be its demise.

  • Jacko January 18, 2012, 11:24 am

    I 100% agree with your facebook prediction. The biggest reason i predict facebook will fail is that marky z has lost his hold on the company. The one-percenter’s have half of the company leveraged hoping its ipo will explode. Yeah about as much as Zinga’s did.

    Facebook is opt in sopa will be myspace before long.

  • Rich Morris January 18, 2012, 10:57 am

    I greatly appreciate this post. If I was in this situation I am not sure what I would tell my friend in regards to making 150k. I do know that it will take some time. I would fire up a word-press blog as quickly as possible and start blogging what he is passionate about. Learn everything you can about online marketing and social media. Please keep us informed on what he actually ends up doing if you don’t mind sharing I know I would be very curious. I wish him the best.
    Rich Morris recently posted..Welcome to the Blogging WorldMy Profile

  • Jamie Northrup January 18, 2012, 10:38 am

    This was a good read, not sure how many will be true for 2012, some I think will take more than this year to happen, but you never know, I put a link to this post in my calendar for January 1st 2013 and I’ll see what has happened.
    Jamie Northrup recently posted..Ranking My Blogs Case Study Weeks 3 to 8 UpdateMy Profile

  • Jacob Dantzler January 18, 2012, 6:57 am

    I really appreciated reading this article. Interesting predictions. I can see alot of what you are saying is soon to become reality and it would be very wise to consider and take action as a solutionist instead of being a problemist. Wonderful article Sally!
    Jacob Dantzler recently posted..Generate Blog Traffic Faster Then The Page Ranking Speed LimitMy Profile

  • Ryan Biddulph January 18, 2012, 4:30 am

    Hi Dave,

    Good stuff here.

    I am moving away from Facebook quite a bit recently. Social media is a helpful marketing tool but for laser-targeted marketing, nothing beats good ole’ fashioned SEO-based content creation. Articles and blog posts, all keyword-optimized, this is the bread and butter of a targeted marketing campaign. At least if you want to establish serious clout.

    I was a former social junkie – with Facebook and Twitter being my tools of choice – but have learned my lesson. To reach your market, spend most of the day doing stuff which will reach your market. Creating targeted content sits at the top of the list. The social stuff is all well and good, to develop transparency and trust, but do not spend too much time FBing it, because even if your friends or twitter followers are targeted these individuals are not necessarily prospects or customers. Nope, the people who type keywords in – keywords showing up in your articles – these are the hungry leads. These are who you want to contact.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Dave. Enjoy your day!

    Ryan

  • Sally Brown January 17, 2012, 10:35 pm

    Hi,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and think most of the predictions are right and believe you also have some you haven’t mentioned. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Great article! Sally
    Sally Brown recently posted..Another Reason To Smile!My Profile

  • doug_eike January 17, 2012, 9:41 pm

    I truly enjoyed reading this article. It reminds me of just how important it is that we learn to adapt to this new global environment. The skill sets that have value are in flux, and no one really knows where anything is headed. Anyone who blindly continues to work under the old paradigm risks losing everything. Staying ahead of the curve is nearly impossible, but constant study, experimentation, and risk taking are a must. Thanks for some valuable insights!
    doug_eike recently posted..Seven Healthful Dinner Ideas For A Week Of Evening MealsMy Profile

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