Ladies and Geeks, Your 2006 Predictions

Why live in a glass house when you can throw rocks later for free? No, of course I’m not stupid enough to make a bunch of predictions for next year. Why would I want something in print that will only come back to haunt me later. Instead I’ve decided to make just one prediction, Yahoo! will buy Digg. But predictions are fun and thus I’ve aggregated a bunch below. I didn’t record 100% of every predictor’s predictions, just the ones I thought were interesting. Alex Barnett by the way is also doing a good job at collecting predictions. Fred Wilson is also collecting prediction posts over at Delicious.

We will revisit these predictions at the end of 2006 and report back who the best and worst were. By the way, if you have some to add feel free to do so in the comments. And please don’t sue me Jason, I linked to your blog 19 times.

So here goes:

Apple Computer

Phillip Swann: Video iPod Downloads to Fall In Second Half of 2006.

Dave Winer:
Apple will ship two generations of iPods. The first new generation, released in April, will have a satellite receiver built-in. The second will have a low-power FM transmitter built-in.

Paul Scrivens: Pricing for iTunes Music Store songs will change based on the popularity of the song. Some songs might go for $.29 while new hits will rise to $1.99. To appease customers, the album price will only raise a bit.

Om Malik: iPhone, the real thing comes to market sometime in September 2006 time frame.

Om Malik: Mac Mini finally becomes Apple’s CE platform for the living room.

David Kirkpatrick, Fortune Senior Editor: Apple is likely to introduce a cell phone next year.

John Battelle:
iTunes will begin to get the speed wobbles as the music industry decides it wants to control its distribution just like in the good old days.

Phillip Swann: Apple Will Launch a Larger-Screen Video iPod

John Battelle:
The pace of Internet startup acquisitions will not be as torrid as most entrepreneurs and VCs had hoped.

Blog Networks

Jason Calacanis: 30 of the 50 blog networks will fizzle out and/or die. Only one or two (other than Gawker) will break 20M pages a month. The blog network space is just way too crowded, and if you can’t go big at this point you’re gonna have a real hard time doing a *real* network (say 20 blogs or more). Now, you’ll do just fine if you stay focused on a narrow niche that you can own.

Jason Calacanis: Metblogs and Gothamist will both raise venture or seed capital.

Jason Calacanis: Half of the indie blog search engines will shut down, go out of business, or just stagnate as the major portals take over this space.

Jason Calacanis: No blog search engines will be bought in 2006 because every major buyer has already built one.

Shel Israel:
The number of bloggers worldwide will exceed 150 million.

Shel Israel:
The greatest growth of all will come from non-professionals who create blogs to serve small groups of family, friends and colleagues.

Shel Israel: Each member of the so-called A-List will continue to increase the people who follow them. But they will each become less important, as the relentless growth of the blogosphere outgrows their readerships, giving them influence over smaller percentages of the total.

Shel Israel:
Somewhere a blogger will break a news story that makes the world stop cold. He or she will be considered for a Pulitzer. But the committee will reject the idea, because the traditional newspaper managers who determine award recipients will remain adamant that bloggers are never journalists.

Jason Calacanis

Dave Winer: Jason Calacanis will stay at AOL though Easter 2006, and then will resign to spend more time with his family.

Phillip Swann: CBS to Launch VOD Digital TV Channel

John Battelle:
The China Internet Bubble will begin to deflate.

Jason Calacanis: CNET will be bought by Yahoo or Fox Interactive/Newscorp.

Jason Calacanis: DIGG will be bought by CNET.

Pat McCarthy:
Social news site Digg will expand into other content areas and media types and then will be acquired.

Paul Scrivens: Digg will be purchased by CNet for $5-8 Million.

Phillip Swann: DIRECTV Will Emerge As the HDTV Leader

Phillip Swann: DIRECTV Will Launch a Portable DVR

Phillip Swann: DIRECTV Will Shake-Up Its Executive Team

Jason Calacanis: Walt Mossberg will join the Engadget team.

Greg Linden: Flickr, Technorati,, and other popular tagging sites will find themselves under assault by spammers. Like with splogs, efforts to battle the influx of crap will be only partially successful.

Jason Calacanis: Gawker will hit 20 blogs and get bought by Newscorp–Nick Denton will keep Fleshbot and retire for the third time before spinning the Fleshbot into an ipod video service claiming all the while that “there’s no business in it.”
< br />Google
Jason Calacanis: Google’s stock will take it’s first significant hit (> 15% drop) at some point during the year, but not because of their earnings but rather some outside factor (think advertising slow down, terrorist attack in the US, tech bubble bursting, etc). Google’s stock will end the year basically flat (+/-10%) while their earnings soar.

Dan Tynan: As part of its ongoing agreement with NASA, Google will secure exclusive advertising rights to the moon, where it plans to run text ads on the lunar surface. To increase traffic, the search company will distribute free telescopes to every human on the planet.

David Kirkpatrick, Fortune Senior Editor: Yes, I love Google, but my first prediction is that a year from now we won’t think that the search company is the invincible behemoth that we do now.

Oliver Thylmann: The Google Bubble will Burst. Google is immensely overvalued and that valuation will need to come down.

HelloCompany: Google will buy Gannett and install its Click-to-call button beside every classified on the Gannett network.

Dave Winer: Google will make a deal with the Time-Warner movie companies, and start for on-demand distribution over the Internet.

Jason Calacanis: Google Adsense for Podcasts and/or Video will debut in Q2/Q3 of 2006–Yahoo and Microsoft will follow shortly after that.

John Battelle:
Google will stumble, some might say badly, but it will be significant.

Jason Calacanis: After obsessing over Google for years while writing The Search, John Battelle sells his Federated Media network to the them.

John Battelle:
Google and Yahoo will both enter the video (nee television) advertising marketplace.

Phillip Swann: Several More HDTV Networks Will Launch in 2006.

Phillip Swann: Plasma TV ‘Enhanced-Definition’ Prices Will Hit $1,000 By the 2006 Holidays, With Plasma HDTVs Falling Below $1,500.

Phillip Swann: Rear-Projection TV Sales Will Suffer in 2006 And Beyond.

Phillip Swann: But Rear-Projection HDTV Prices Will Drop Under $500.

Phillip Swann: New HDTV DVD players Will Be the Buzz of the Industry.

Phillip Swann: HDTV Sales Will Jump In the First Two Months of 2006.

Phillip Swann: The Plasma-LCD-DLP-SED Flat-Screen TV War Will Spur More Interest in HDTV.

Phillip Swann: The Networks Will More Frequently Promote HDTV As a Reason to Watch a Primetime Show.

Jason Calacanis: The housing bubble will deflate/burst (it’s much worse now than people are saying) and consumer confidence and spending will be moderately shaken. This will create a pullback in consumer advertising which will result in a cooling of the media/Web 2.0 space and another round of main stream media layoffs (think magazines, newspapers, etc).

Internet TV
Phillip Swann: You’ll See More Internet TV Devices

Roland Tanglao:
No Flickr of video emerges.

John Battelle:
Someone, and I do not know who, will make a big pile of Big Media video assets freely available on the web.

John Battelle:
There will be one major new IPO that briefly gets the press talking about “the Next Google.” But it won’t live up to the hype.

Lost Pets
Churl: In 2006 we are going to lose our dog.

Phillip Swann: Microsoft Will Buy Its Way Into the Living Room.

Greg Linden: Microsoft will launch an AdSense-like advertising product in the hopes of undermining Google’s business, but the product will fail to attract a large network in 2006 due to relatively weak ad targeting and low clickthrough rates.

John Battelle:
Microsoft will gain five points of search share, at least.

John Battelle:
Vista will launch, and its much anticipated and feared desktop search integration will be viewed as anemic. The whisper as to why? Fear of the DOJ….

Greg Linden: Microsoft will abandon Windows Live.

Michael Noer (Fobes columnist): Xbox 360 will be a flop. Microsoft rushed to get its system out for the 2005 holiday season, and it shows. The launch titles are, at best, uninspired. Worse, Ubisoft is now saying that the 360 version of one of the most anticipated games, King Kong, is essentially unplayable on a regular TV and needs an HD set. Gaming blogs and Web sites are chock-full of complaints alleging that the 360 freezes, overheats and crashes.

Greg Linden: Microsoft will launch an AdSense-like advertising product in the hopes of undermining Google’s business, but the product will fail to attract a large network in 2006 due to relatively weak ad targeting and low clickthrough rates.

John Battelle:
Mobile. I repeat my mobile prediction from last year, in the hope that it will come true this year: Mobile will finally be plugged into the web in a way that makes sense for the average user and a major mobile innovation – the kind that makes us all say – Jeez that was obvious – will occur.

Jason Calacanis: MySpace will host an awards show on MTV or Spike.

New York Times

Jason Calacanis: New York Times will cut the newsroom staff by 10-20% and face another Jayson Blair/Judith Miller-style scandal. However, advertising on their website will be oversold. They will launch gadget, car, personal finance, and video game blogs that will do OK.

Jason Calacanis: Newscorp (and maybe some other folks) might spin out their Interactive assets and take them public.

Brandon Paddock: Newsgator will get bought by, or closely partner with one of the major search/portal/blog players – or by someone that’s trying to become one.

Shel Israel:
After a few major metropolitan newspapers die, dailies will begin to understand that blogs are part of their solution, and will start incorporating neighborhood bloggers into their system.

Jason Calacanis: No podcasting company will have any significant success in 2006, but a number of podcasters will be offered great jobs at Sirius and XM Radio.

Phillip Swann: Porn HDTV DVDs Will Explode in 2006.

John Battelle:
speaking of privacy, there will be a major court case involving the database of intentions that gets legislators talking about “protecting the common citizen” (or somesuch) from “the perils of unprotected Internet data mining” (or somesuch).

Pat McCarthy: Face-recognition photo application Riya will be acquired by a major player.


Jason Calacanis: No RSS readers will be bought in 2006 because every major buyer has already built one.

Satellite Radio
Jason Calacanis: Sirius will hit 5M subscribers by the end of the year due to Howard Stern’s massive success in drawing new subscribers (note: I own a small amount of Sirius stock in my retirement account, AOL has a deal with SiriusXM–AOL bought my company Weblogs, Inc., and I’ve been a fan of Howard Stern for 20 years).

Robert Scoble

Dave Winer: Scoble will appear on Oprah.

John Battelle:
The massive telephony industry will begin to crush mammals left and right as its core business model continues a long and painful death dance. “Mammals” are defined as anyone who happens to be in its way as it attempts – scarily but unsuccessfully – to force a two-tiered Internet onto all of us.

Phillip Swann: Yahoo to Buy TiVo.

John Battelle:
Tivo and NetFlix will merge.

Video Blogging

Phillip Swann: This Will Be the Year of the Video Blog

Phillip Swann: Voom Will Get a Re-Birth

Web 2.0
Jason Calacanis: If there is a terrorist attack in the US and/or if oil prices shoot up again the slow down above will turn into a very serious recession. Folks will stop trying to build companies and start looking for a paycheck–Web 2.0 meme dies.

John Battelle:
“Web 2.0” will make the cover of Time Magazine, and thus its moment in the sun will have passed. However, the story that drives “Web 2.0” will only strengthen, and folks will cast about for the next best name for the phenomenon.


Jason Calacanis: Someone will do the Wikipedia version of Weblogs, Inc. and and it will fail because it never reaches critical mass.

Blake Ross: In retaliation for Gore’s bold foray onto the Internet, George W. Bush will be the latest to come under fire for editing his own Wikipedia biography. Although Wikipedia will have implemented the most sophisticated algorithms to deter this kind of behavior, Bush will be caught because he will change all instances of “George” to “I”.

Greg Linden: Wikipedia will be sabotaged by a spam robot coming over a botnet. The spam robot will makes millions of subtle, small changes to the articles, many of which go undetected for long periods of time. Unable to keep up, Wikipedia will be forced to shut off anonymous edits and place other controls on changes.

Word Press

Shel Israel:
Realizing that there is a better chance for one independent blogging tools and hosting service, Six Apart and WordPress will talk merger. WordPress will not like the idea, but will see that it beats getting gobbled or crushed by one of the giants of Google, MSN and Yahoo!

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