The Second Bubble

Just so I'm on record, the next bubble is Internet video. There will be a bunch of people who make a lot of money in the short term, selling online video, selling the technology to serve and track it, and capitalizing on the "Where do we put our money?" problem many advertisers seem to have right now. And then the bubble is going to burst. Again. It will be the second time major advertisers get burned by people in the Internet business. One wonders how long it will take us to recover once that bubble pops, or whether we ever will gain the trust of major marketers again.

We'll keep repeating this rapid expansion/rapid contraction process until either we get it right or major advertisers run out of trust.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do know that getting it right involves recognizing that the value of the Internet is not in pushing content, but cultivating conversation. Until the Internet marketing business understands that and stands behind it, we're doomed to repeat history.

Right now it seems like my conversations with reps have taken a big turn toward online video, with everybody promising to get our clients' 30-second spots in front of X number of eyeballs. Then there are the smart colleagues I've come to respect who have managed to land on the wrong side of the net neutrality issue, mainly because they view the Internet as a series of pipes over which "messages" should be "broadcast." Tiered access means those with the means will have bigger online video pipes, right? Ugh...

Yes, people are going to make a shitload of money on online video. No, it won't be sustainable.