1. Death of Live Speaking Events.
Most of the big gurus are cancelling their live seminars or
holding something local and trying to sell videos from it to recoup
costs. Some are transitioning strictly to webinars.
Seats that would sell for 500 bucks can’t be filled now when
tickets are given away to the same events. Even the super-gurus are
slashing their payrolls right now because they can’t fill seats.
You won’t hear about these downsizings but they’re occurring behind
2. Social Media Blowback.
There’s a South Park episode where characters in YouTube viral
videos are expecting to get paid based on the number of views of
their videos (fat chance). Many Internet marketers are discovering
that Facebook and Twitter aren’t paying off in the cyber-world
either. Fake friends and fictitious Twitter followers don’t equal
income…and a lot of time has been wasted pretending otherwise.
Where there are real people behind the social media accounts, they
don’t buy much.
It’s like your typical offline networking event where broke
people show up to try to sell products and services to each other.
The Mary Kay beauty consultant tries to sell cosmetics to the Amway
lady who is simultaneously pitching product to the Primerica
insurance guy. Then there’s the broke realtor and the newbie
financial advisor each trying get leads from the other when neither
3. Privacy Gets Crowned.
All the major Web browsers will add “do-not-track” features so
that users can automatically deny cookies when they surf the Web.
Smart marketers who rely upon tracking will deny website visitors
access to key content unless cookies are accepted. Legalese will
change to make full disclosure of what is tracked and how.
Black hat data mining will rely upon packet-sniffing so that
Internet users are unaware of what’s being collected every time
they go online. The tech savvy will subscribe to VPN services to
use for privacy when logged into unsecured Wi-Fi networks (like
those at Starbucks, McDonalds, Paradise, Panera, etc.).
4. Triplet Crackdown.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food & Drug Administration
(FDA), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will make it a
priority to tame the Internet.
– The FTC will focus on deceptive practices and privacy,
– the FDA will aim at health and weight-loss products, and
– the FCC will try to enforce Net Neutrality by regulation.
Some of those already being investigated will lose their online
businesses in 2011.
5. Legal Robbers.
Broke governments will be looting the Internet for additional
taxes and fees. The Amazon tax is just the start. In addition to
sales and use taxes, the governments will be looking for unreported
online income. The new 1099 reporting requirements under ObamaCare
will make it harder to hide income.
There’s also the new 1099-K form that will hit online
transactions. PayPal and other payment processors are ramping up for it.
More online entrepreneurs will get EIN numbers so they don’t have
to give out their Social Security Number that can be used for
6. Geo-Local Becomes Prom Queen.
The buzz about Facebook and Twitter has migrated to geo-local
marketing. Groupon is a big winner for 2011…a business that had the
chutzpah to walk away from Google’s reported offer to buy the
company for $5 billion. Many Internet marketers are returning to
their roots by targeting local businesses.
When 1/5 Google searches and 1/3 searches on smartphone browsers
are local, the trend is to profit from driving traffic to local
brick-and-mortar businesses using the Internet. Expect Google to
buy a Groupon competitor or start its own to compete.
7. Wildings Hunted Down.
The Wall Street Journal today compared the
denial-of-service attacks by WikiLeaks hacktivists and similar
online crime to the “wildings” youth group crime sprees that used
to take place in the Big Apple (beatings, rapes in Central Park
Combine this lawless behavior with ruthless hacking
attacks on Google, and the hacks of Fed Reserve and DoD computers
and there’s a big incentive for Uncle Sam to crush Internet law
breakers in the interest of “national security” and “public
The U.S. government has closed down tens of thousands of
sites/blogs in 2010 without even having to get a court order. Expect this
trend to continue. There’s a call for online businesses to live by
the same rules as offline companies in the interest of “fairness.”
Where does this leave you as an online entrepreneur?
Like any other business owner, if you obey the law and treat
people fairly, you’ve got a good chance of surviving and thriving.
Find the starving markets and sell them something they want. Of course,
if you’ve got legal questions, talk to your Internet lawyer.
To your online success!
-Mike the Internet lawyer