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Craig Kerstiens

All the bubbles haven't burst yet

As I watch the news and posts roll in each day with new layoffs in the valley, ranging from large corporations such as HP and EA, down to the small guys such as seesmic, imeem, searchme, and zillow to name only a few, there still seems to be a demand for certain job skills. While as I look down the list some of these I dont feel are any longer demanded skills, and others will soon be there. In part I want to call attention to facebook first. While everyone and their brother, when launching a website wants to build a facebook app to deliver some of their content on to facebook, the time and effort put into this is no where near the return. The market has become so flooded the penetration you will get is quite trivial. Futhermore cpm’s have already plummeted for advertising on facebook, ranging in some cases around .10-.15.

Meanwhile iphone developers are still rushing to get their idea into the app store. While a decent idea, and I more than support new applications, so that I can use them on my phone, a 10 million person marketplace is still extremely small, especially if you’re not a mainstream application. It used to be that one million users on your website was the golden point in social networks when you could really go for significant funding, or you could start talking a selling price. But thats not the case anymore, much less to reach that on the iphone you would have to be somewhere between the top 10 and top 25 elite apps. 

So sure, you might not have that many users that download your app right? But theres ad revenue possibilities. Well that works right now, the iphone is seeing insane cpm’s in some cases as high as $50. This is simply not sustainable. While some claim that mobile advertising is the holy grail of ad’s, that only works if you can capture user intent, which in contrast isn’t so simple. It works for search, because well when I’m searching for something that usually captures my intent, not so for when I’m using my phone. I strongly suspect that as these new hot markets calm down, companies will do proper analysis of ROI and no longer want many of these niche skills.

In these cases I think there’s going to be able more smaller bubbles bursting and a lot more niche developers searching for something more than developing the occasional website for the store down the street.