2010: The year everything died

Ian Lurie

Man. 2010 turned internet marketing into a charnel house. RSS, SEO, the web were all pronounced dead by one pundit or another. Let’s review:

SEO is dead

Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, Jason Calacanis, Jeremy Schoemaker and others all pronounced SEO dead because of Google Instant or blended search or a pressing need for more links to their blogs. Actually, Shoemoney pronounces SEO dead at least once a year, and has made it into a running gag with the SEO community, so I don’t think he counts.
Reality. SEO is alive and well after another year of changes. See, there’s this one fact all the coroners out there ignore: People still search for stuff. As long as they do, SEO will be around.
In their defense… As long as the entire SEO community rises up in hysteria, linking back to people who claim SEO is dead, expect pundits to make that claim. It’s easier than getting links one at a time, that’s for sure.

RSS is dead

Steve Rubel, flush with victory after claiming SEO is dead (see above) and that the pageview is dead (back in 2007) decided to extend his win streak by claiming that yes, RSS is dead, or at least maimed, too. He then posted a desire to return to feed reading in 2011, so I’m just confused. But other publications and writers also say RSS is fading to dust.
Reality. Andy Beal shows pretty compelling evidence that RSS use is going up, fast. Smart marketers use the technology for all sorts of monitoring and information delivery/consumption. RSS isn’t being used by consumers – that’s true. That doesn’t make it dead. That’s like saying jet fuel’s dead because we don’t use it in cars yet.
In their defense… The world of RSS is an utter mess. Try to automate access to a Google Alert RSS feed and you get errors about 1/2 the time. It’d sure be nice, just once, to have a standard that’s actually standard, just once.

The web is dead

Wired Magazine decided that the web is dead (again) claiming that the web is dead. They claim that the rise of video and decline of traditional web traffic means the old WWW ain’t what she used to be.
Reality. Video is still primarily delivered using the web. So I’m not even sure that their statistics are valid. I also think that the rise of apps is going to be a temporary one. HTML5 and mobile-friendly javascript frameworks are poised to make web-driven mobile interfaces easier, more efficient and a better user experience than apps. And Wired’s own venture into apps hasn’t gone that great. That’s right, I said it: Apps are dead (snicker).
In their defense… Declaring the web is dead sold a lotta magazines. Apps are damned cool right now. And Cisco gave them a really pretty-looking graph. Plus, Wired publishes a lot of great stuff. They have to go flying off the rails sometimes.
Subtext. The Cisco data they’re using is a little murky. Wired doesn’t actually say what Cisco is using as their metric. But Cisco typically uses bytes. If the graph Wired published in their article is based on bytes transferred, then the whole premise is badly flawed. Video is a heck of a lot bigger, and transferring 3 minutes of video requires a lot more bytes than transferring an HTML page that takes 3 minutes to read. You might as well claim America is on the rise because we’re all fatter now.

Keep writing

Keep writing, Steve! Keep going, Jason! You give the rest of us stuff to write about.
Here’s to 2011!

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. If RSS is dead then no one told me about it… Me and the majority of my colleagues still use it to monitor the latest industry news from our favorite blogs – including this one 😉

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