Power to the People

Published January 29, 2009 7:45 am by LoSasso
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Everyone knows the Internet has given power to the people. We rarely find the need to muster together the needed energy to call customer hot lines, attend town hall meetings, or send complaint letters. Within seconds, our important opinions that everyone is dying to know can be made available for the world via the World Wide Web. They call us “user-generated content (UGC) creators.”

And we’re taking over.

eMarketer estimates the number of UGC creators will grow from 83 million in 2008 to 115 million in 2013.

Furthermore, the number of US Internet users seeing some form of UGC will grow from 116 million to 155 million within the next five years.

So the more user-generated content on a page, the more attractive ad space will be to advertisers, right? ….Well, not exactly.

“Unfortunately, if things stay as they are, this frenzy of content generation and attention is not likely to produce commensurate rewards for marketers or site publishers,” says Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst.

Most advertisers seem to be shying away from nonprofessional content, and sticking with more reliable material. The unpredictability is too risky, and the ad effectiveness is too difficult to measure. “Finding lucrative niches will require patience, risk-taking, creativity and a long-term commitment,” says Verna.

Nevertheless, UGC sites seem to be pulling a fair amount of attention (and revenue) away from traditional media.

For more information, check out eMarketer’s recent article, “Can User-Generated Content Change Your World?” by Stephen Stills.