Writing about new media startup companies is like waving a bubble wand in the air and watching the bubbles either land on the ground, latch onto larger bubbles, or burst in mid-air, and it’s hard to tell where they’ll go. Here’s a look at some of our most interesting stories in 2010:
Social Media is Going Mainstream… Sort of
- A slew of browser-based software applications for chatting and sharing data (like enterprise software company HipChat) make the “cloud” metaphor ubiquitous enough for network television ads.
- The phrase “social network” is ubiquitous enough for Hollywood.
- ‘New Twitter’ underwhelms public, finds niche in retail with fashion startup Moxsie.
- Facebook reaches 500 million active users. But don’t get too cocky, social media: Pew Research Center reports that only eight percent of American Internet users are on Twitter.
The Internet is Getting Personal
America’s Got Startup Fever
- The US Government showers small businesses with hiring incentives and other tax breaks to keep them in business.
- New York City, unwilling to concede cultural superiority to California, declares itself a startup capital and starts shopping for talent.
- Meanwhile, Russia is watching America’s every move.
Sharecropping is the New Content Farming
- Mobile applications are profitable and have a wider reach than desktop applications, but the app stores, especially Apple’s, are the clear winners with a 30% cut of the download fee.
- Mobile and online publishing platforms like Thumb Media Group’s Mozine and StyleCaster’s The Masthead hook up old publications with new media, and new media with advertising dollars.
- New micro-payment services add a much-needed “pay now” button to just about everything else on the Internet. Watch out for banking fees.
- Crowdsourcing companies disburse online tasks from quality assurance to legal services to the masses for pennies on the dollar. What American workers lose in income, they gain in music videos.
Some Startups Quit While They’re Ahead
- Many startups sell out to industry giants like AOL and Google, and rising stars like Facebook for millions of dollars.
- Others stay put and watch their valuations rise. To date, Groupon is worth more than Twitter, Facebook is worth more than eBay and Yahoo!.
- Valuations are like leprechaun gold: they look really shiny in the pot at the end of the rainbow, but get too close and the money could disappear.