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Monday, August 27, 2007

Internet: Not Dead But Boring

Mark Cuban has ruffled more than a few feathers with his series of posts about the Internet being dead and boring. He's right if you can reframe his argument the following way: the Internet has become so ubiquitous and essential that "Internet companies" and "innovations" don't generate the pizzazz they did during the first dozen years. We now take them for granted. The Internet has been internalized and absorbed into the fabric of our work and life that it is no longer an exciting "other;" it is part of us and how we do just about anything. You wouldn't say the power grid or banking system is dead because your life would radically change if they stopped functioning, and now the same can be said for the Internet. By boring, I believe Cuban is saying that the major innovations have already occurred, and that another Wall Street bubble won't happen (although recent interest in social networks, interactive ad agencies and vertical networks suggests otherwise). However, just because we won't see another run-up of IPOs doesn't mean that innovation is over. Most of the changes will be in other industries taking advantage of the Internet's pipes/wireless spectrum. The not-boring activity during the next two years will come from TV/video online delivered by new and old media alike (IPTV), from better ways of narrowing information (custom Wikis, smart filtering of RSS feeds and news aggregation), and perhaps most importantly, through websites becoming the new corporate identity. The generation that is now in school will learn more about a company through what it sees online, replacing the chairman or a character like Ronald McDonald as the most identifiable corporate symbol. How does Wal-Mart, or Coca Cola or MTV talk to me online? Is it through blogs, videos, interactive website, personalized search assistants? Are they entertaining me, being honest with me, or just after my money? Because the "dead" Internet will be more important than TV, movies, or music, marketers will be spending the majority of time honing their online presence (even including a SecondLife existence). The Internet is dead, long live the Internet!

By John Gartner at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

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