Aug 06, 2007

5 "Next Big Things" That Weren't That Big

When it comes to interactive marketing, where everyone is constantly scanning for the next big thing, there's big potential everywhere, but in the words of Jerry Maguire, it's like popcorn in the pan: some pop, some don't. So lets take a look at some recent properties that had strong buzz in the last year, but didn't quite hit those high expectations.

1. Second Life. Yes, you can argue that certain specific brands were able to effectively leverage a presence in Second Life for some significant ROI, but on the whole, the platform hasn't yet lived up to the hype it received in its early days.

Why not?
Because the vast majority of consumers are overtaxed trying to keep up with their first life, much less a digital second one.

2. Myspace. As with Second Life, some industries (the music industry in particular) have had great success with Myspace as a marketing platform. But other industries are rapidly losing interest in favor of its collegiate cousin, Facebook and its inviting open API.

Why not? Because most brands lack the understanding and willingness to commit time and resources to effective social network marketing. And it's just not a great fit for every company.

3. This time last year, industry insider buzz was pointing to as a hot contender to seriously challenge Google in search. A year later, Ask has yet to make a serious dent in Google's search dominance.

Why not?
It may be that Ask waited too long. Improved results and a snazzier algorithm isn't enough to take on Google, now that their acquisitions take them far beyond search.

4. YouTube. When Google made its historic purchase of the video portal, speculation ran wild that online video was going to completely take over interactive marketing. While video continues to grow, the pace has been decidedly slower than some expected.

Why not? The head geeks at Google are still wrapping their prodigious minds around both the copyright implications of YouTube and developing a workable revenue model. YouTube will probably live up to the buzz eventually, but the industry may have expected too much, too soon.

5. Mobile. Technological innovations that enable marketers to advertise across networks has created tremendous interest in mobile and SMS marketing in the last year, but so far advertisers have been slow to test the waters.

Why not?
Considering the wide penetration cell phones and other mobile devices have, this one is probably more a matter of time than anything else. Once an effective infrastructure is in place and some key industry leaders emerge, mobile truly could be the next big thing.

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