It is certainly an interesting time to be in the field of internet marketing. "Interesting", of course, can be both good and bad. The past few months have seen some drastic changes in the marketplace, even by speedy internet standards.
To summarize the current internet marketing trends:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), long the linch-pin of internet marketing, has become even more challenging at present due to the instability of Yahoo! Web results, and MSN search results. This instability is due to the fact that both search engines abandoned their former partnerships (Yahoo! with Google, MSN with LookSmart) in favor of creating their own search spiders. Unfortunately, these spiders are not yet ready, so both search engines are making do with what I would term "patchwork" search results. Rankings are highly volatile, and many consumers are not pleased with the inconsistent results.
2. Email marketing continues to fight a battle for existence, as the prevalence of unwanted spam, or bulk, email continues to draw ire from email users worldwide, resulting in a spate of anti-spam legislation. This legislation, unfortunately, has an adverse affect on many legitimate opt in email marketing campaigns. In addition, fear of spam has led to 2 factors that threaten the future of opt in email: 1) Many companies are afraid to send out legitimate campaigns, for fear of being branded as spammers; and 2) Many consumers are reluctant to sign up for ANY offer, for fear their email address will be sold and sold again, and they will drown in spam.
3. Pay Per Click (PPC), or pay per performance, continues to be a very stable industry, capable of generating consistent business for those who pay for the sponsor results. Overture formerly ruled this world, but now Google AdWords has made strong inroads as well, establishing themselves as viable competitors.
4. Co-registration, known familiarly as co-reg, is climbing rapidly up the ladder and going from neglected last resort, to a strong contender. Co-reg now has firmly established affiliate networks that generate thousands of visitors each day. Due to the cooperative nature of the program, companies can advertise and generate leads for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated lead generation campaign. As long as co-reg maintains its integrity, look for this to become more and more popular.
As always, the key to success for internet marketing companies and their clients is to remain abreast of current trends, and to remain flexible in their outlook and open to new approaches.