My bet is that on medium and long term a lot of small sites/online businesses will die, because of the multinationalization of the Internet. Let me explain.
In brick and mortar world, mom & pops individual corner shops started to decay for like 40 years now, because the large chain stores kicked in. Both the hypermarkets ones (wall-mart, carrefour, etc), both the supermarket ones (Plus, Profi, Lidl, Wallgreens, etc), both the small groceries and kiosk chains took over market share. More and more money worldwide we are paying to chains of shops versus individual shops.
And this makes sense. They have the financial power to negotiate smaller prices, they have better marketing, they are buying nice locations, their procedures are well established, the quality standards are usually higher than individual proprietary shops… We perceive they have lower prices (which is only a perception)…
Same on the internet. In the past years it was a madness with the launch of countless websites that all look for attention. Based on the SEO guidelines, the vast majority of these were GENERIC names, with the keyword in the url, so it will have a better chance for Google, to show up higher in results. That also lead to countless spam sites, optimised with bogus content, usually just a trick to drag people on these site and then monetize them somehow (via CPC, either selling stuff directly or indirectly, using backdoors).
Google is fighting spam sites for some time, with not very clear results. Even after the Panda 2.2 launch, the spam sites with stolen content were doing pretty good, while other relative original content sites were hit. But the direction is clear: original, added value content, from TRUSTWORTHY locations will be king in the future. Will you trust your credit card data to that site? You do, if it’s a brand 🙂
Before launching a web product, it was always a decision between 2 choices:
- select a unique, memorable domain name (and brand): google, yahoo, whatever with 2 00 in name, zulu, mulu, biku, maka, vaka, fring, bing, ping, and whatever other combinations
- choose a generic keyword search term in url: cheap tickets, cheap hotels, and so on
Now, Google launched the +1 feature. What will happen? They’re using crowdsorcing to figure it out what sites to bring up in search results. And if you search for example “insurance” on google, countless people will give a thumbs up to BRAND sites. That will means on medium term it will be virtually impossible for no brand names to break into the top 10 results, that will be fill with brand sites.
So, my advice to all web product developers: CREATE BRANDS ONLINE, not generic sites. Generic will die. Not to mention that if you create a brand online, you can sell it later 🙂