Join me as I weigh in on the current state of teh interweb and foretell it's doom. I'm not an expert nor do I wield a business or economics degree. But that hasn't stopped anyone from impersonating a pundit before!
Implosion One: Advertisers sober up.
Seems like the best place to stretch advertising dollars is online. The ad content is cheap to produce and distribute. Marketers can take aim at their target audience with much more precision than tv or print. How it implodes: Advertisers realize that consumers dismiss online ads as dubious and ignorable background noise. Online ad campaigns scale back, and many ad-supported games collapse from the withdrawal of support. The realization dawns that the whole internet is a house-of-cards teetering precariously on ad revenue.
Implosion Two: Freebie high-bandwidth services become extinct.
YouTube and Facebook, suffering from delivering high-bandwidth content for free to billions annually, will start charging for their services. The ad revenue simply cannot sustain their operation. How it implodes: Youtube and Facebook will take stock of adding and maintaining servers, and after hitting the ceiling financially, will presume their popularity will translate into a large paid subscription service. The plan backfires, free-to-play apps suffer, Facebook and Google go to congress seeking a bailout. People return to email and TV.
Implosion Three: The content creators team up, hold internet hostage.
In the next 10 years, all the major content creators will merge together to form a conglomerate that will seek to protect their IPs and eliminate piracy. Movie studios, music industry, gaming, publishing, software makers, etc, will band together to overhaul the internet as we know it. The internet turns into a policed, organized selection of channels subscribed to by the public. How it implodes: With piracy hitting an all-time high, the content creators seek to put a tarriff on consumer download usage, proposing people are billed for downloading x amount of terabytes every month, much like Long Distance rates on phones. When this proposal is rejected, all the content makers band together and withhold content until the internet can be reformed to protect their IPs. Piracy will come to an end, but smaller game start-ups will find it difficult to get their foot in the door of the internet 2.0. Consumer apathy reigns.
Implosion Four: Government intervenes, begins to partition the internet.
Google, Yahoo, and other widespread online entities are dismantled and summarily muzzled by the US Government. How it implodes: US Congressman begin to liken Google and Yahoo to the monopolies of old, like AT&T and Microsoft. Having no more steroid-infused baseball players to deal with, they take aim. Google is deemed as an all-encompassing intrusive entity and ordered to scale back growth and to break apart. Yahoo, MSN Live, and other online entities are dismantled and/or capped. Alright, the internet won't implode, it just will be trickier to navigate.
Implosion Five: Internet version of 'Caller ID' is mandated and implemented. Hi-jinks end.
Everyone will be issued an online pass that will identify them personally to sites and other users. The anonymity enjoyed for decades online is gone. It will not be just an IP address, but a full personal profile. How it implodes: Eventually, the dam breaks due to a series of high-profile crimes traced back to online interaction. Governments decide to impose an online pass to everyone, which would act like a virtual driver's license. The online traffic takes a beating. People stop going to questionable sites like Kotaku and Lolcats. At least trolls become extinct. Online gaming takes a hit because people cannot flame or teabag without consequence.
Implosion Six: The MPAA and ESRB decide they want a piece.
All content is submitted and graded by a board operating in similar fashion to the MPAA. This results in an extreme change in accessibility to online users. New content delivered online slows to a trickle. The internet is effectively censored. Pornography, on which 87% of the internet resides, is partitioned to adult users only. How it implodes: Like 4 and 5, through Government intervention. The internet withers and goes on life support.
All of these scenarios were just what-ifs. However if any become true, I will be on a street corner wearing a sandwich board yelling to the heavens, saying I predicted this.