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Hello, my dear fellow search marketer, and welcome to 2023.
It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions, or at the very least, be prepared to make some changes for the new year.
Unlike my New York Jets, there is ample opportunity to drop the crappy “guru” you’ve hired, forecast out a budget (even in a recession), play with a new bid strategy, make memes about Performance Max/GA4 and give Bing (I still refuse to call it Microsoft Advertising) the fighting chance it deserves.
Also, don’t forget to migrate your Twitter ad budget to something actually stable.
So, let’s discuss what you should be doing now, what you went through in 2023, and what you need to do in 2023.
Think of this as a really nerdy and “snarkastic” visitation of three ghosts.What Should You Be Doing Right Now?
It’s the beginning of 2023, so you’re running a bit late – but you can still make up for lost time.Forecasting A 2023 Budget
You’ve seen how to forecast search budgets year after year: the old “determine impression share (IS) lost due to budget and had 3%-5% increase in CPC assuming strategy stays the same” method.
Then the pandemic came along, and forecasting got a little iffier. Now, that method lacks some weight.
Why? There are a variety of theories, but for now, let’s just call it “inflation.”
If you keep the typical approach, expect to add anywhere from 10%-15% on brand CPC growth YoY in Q1 and, likely, more along the lines of 4%-7% growth on non-brand. This comes from our own in-house estimate – yours should vary.
Next, the ugly elephant in the room – Performance Max – appears. But it gets more complicated if you migrate smart shopping over to Performance Max as well.
Look at Google’s recommendation tool, see what it says for growth on a budget (because we all know it never says less), take 15%-25% off that growth level (kill off the buffer), and try that.
Or, gradually scale upward of 5%-10% from your current budget, assuming you hit budget caps consistently while flexing up and down for seasonality.
As I said, neither option is great.
It’ll help you understand where your current strategy/bids are, causing you to miss opportunities.
This is a good time to pace out your budget (if you’re like me, you have a planned budget to spend for literally every day of the year, which will vary based on anticipated demand).Content Calendar/Seasonal Flighting Planning
Often this is not as applicable if you’re new to a piece of business, but it should 100% be part of your plan.
If you aren’t new to the business and you haven’t done this, then you are Mr. Wilson of the Jets and deserve to be benched.
Make sure you know your deals, seasonality for peaks and lows, and everything you want to do creatively and budget-wise.Assessing What You Didn’t Do
Life and work get busy. This happens to all of us. Odds are, you had laid out some plans for 2023 that you could not execute.
Now is the time to determine what builds, testing, flighting plans, etc., you never got around to doing last year and reprioritize them to determine if you should try them out in 2023.
I like to use this thought process when doing that evaluation:
Was this for “fun” or a necessity (i.e., Is this effort something that would’ve definitely made a business impact, or something just to try out and see if it could help or hurt)?
If it was a necessity, then I hope you have a good excuse for why it wasn’t done and put it on the books for 2023.
If it was for “fun,” file it away for a rainy day.
Was there a business implication (positive or negative) by not doing this?
If no, then no harm/no foul, and you can try it eventually.
If yes, then get it ready for 2023, and have a good explanation as to why it wasn’t done.
Consider what you’ve been through.
Much like dealing with your strange aunt/uncle who said something grossly inappropriate during the holidays, you need to sit down and process what did happen to your SEM campaigns in 2023.
This helps you decide if it was all good, all bad, or somewhere in between and what you need to consider carefully in 2023.
Look at both the big things and the small things.Performance Max
If you migrated into Performance Max by choice or by force (anyone using Smart Shopping or local search), it likely made both a negative and a positive impact on your year.
Negative: You literally have no idea when/where your ad is showing, and all you can think (and you’re probably right) is that Google has thrown some of your direct-to-consumer (DTC) funds away on a really bad Google Display Network placement.
At the same time, you have very little information or ability to explain to your boss why Google has basically relaunched the SMB-targeted Adwords Express as a 2.0 version and just ruined your transparency.
Negative: You did the auto upgrade of a local campaign to Performance Max and discovered how many bugs there are, or you let Google create your YouTube video, and the music makes it far more cringe than you had hoped.
Positive: Especially for those running foot traffic campaigns, you’ve (hopefully) seen cost per store visits become somewhat more cost-efficient, and your ecommerce (for those running Smart Shopping) has seen an improvement in the cost per action (CPA).Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
I’ll go ahead and say what we’re all thinking (and it has been published multiple times already):
My god, this analytics platform was clearly made by someone who clearly only interacts with barnyard animals and has a vision and not by someone who did a user focus group.
If you somehow managed to survive the implementation of GA4, you’re now, more than likely, cursing it out due to lack of intuitiveness or more frustrated they rolled it out without a bounce rate or even conversion rate until months later.
All is not lost, though; I highly recommend deploying it immediately (if you haven’t already) and running it concurrently with GA UA, so you can work out the kinks and learn the platform while accruing historical data.
You may feel like Google decided to wake up and choose chaos with this platform and probably lost a few weeks of your life trying to understand it – so keep it in mind when you evaluate what you didn’t get around to doing in 2023.Bing Multimedia Ads
You saw the hype for them in September, especially on the video side, and thought: Finally, Bing is getting into the video ad game.
But then you realized you needed a raw video file to upload it and how little it would rotate.
Big hopes, big opportunity, but just no volume.Twitter
I know this article is SEM focused, but I would be remiss if I didn’t address this, as it is still biddable media.
Some of these changes in 2023 impacted you in different ways, good or bad.
The question is, can you learn from them, use them, and progress in 2023, with or without them?What You Need to Do In 2023
I’ve done several of these “What to Expect in the New Year for SEM” articles over the years, but the last two of these could never have anticipated what is going on now… again.
With that being said, I will go with what I believe is mostly going to happen, and you can take it with a grain of salt:
The NY Jets will not make the big game – just accept it.
CPCs, especially for Q1, will be higher than any other Q1 on record (especially brand terms), so be prepared to find a way to explain why and for your money make to become less cost-efficient.
There will not be a decline in demand/search volume until there is an increase in unemployment (ala 2007-2009 recession), so be prepared to address the uptick in volume.
Google will become less transparent, somehow.
Bing will eventually do whatever Google does.
If you work with healthcare brands, prepare to get rid of GA UA quickly due to HIPAA compliance.
Absolutely most important, use 1st party data as long as you can – but you need to get extremely good, and fast, at building in market audience segment groups and go all Criminal Minds/FBI profiling a serial killer mentality on targeting.
Have I scared you yet? Good.
2023 will be a wild year in search, and you must be prepared for it.
But you cannot move forward until you evaluate and process the past. Once that is done, you can plan out the future.
Best of luck, search marketers. We’re all going to need it.
Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock
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Few people had heard of computer certification when Novell created the Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) in 1989, but what started as a simple sales tool for Novell triggered widespread recognition of the power of certification to make a resume stand out.
Now, there are so many computer certifications it can be hard to choose which one is best, and to human resource departments, the technical resume that doesn’t have any certifications near the top looks like its missing something.
Going into 2004, computer certification is in somewhat of a critical, delicate stage. Will it retain value and continue to play an important role in our field? Or is it going to stumble and fall victim to the hurdles its own success has raised?
Right now the value of certification in the IT industry is clouded by the confusion that results from the sudden abundance of titles. It’s a challenge for IT professionals and employers to identify which certifications are worthwhile to pursue, while noting which are undoubtedly of high quality but will not personally benefit them, and discarding those which offer little value to anyone.
And then there is the legion of cheaters, who would help those who are not deserving or skilled pass certification exams through illegitimate means. When individuals who gain certification by these methods enter the workplace and can’t perform as expected, everyone else who is certified is harmed.
But neither of those hurdles is insurmountable. For the first, Certification vendors are beginning to recognize the problem and attempt to reorganize their certifications into a consistent structure with identifiable levels. Plus, there are Web sites like chúng tôi and others that organize the hundreds of certifications into manageable groups and help people choose among them.
For the cheaters, members of the computer industry have reached out and slapped them with the long arm of the law. In 2003 industry members brought successful lawsuits against several distributors of so-called braindumps. And a special consulting group, named Caveon , formed by industry experts will make their lives even more miserable.
To be sure, there are additional, smaller barriers to surmount. For example, quality continues to be of concern. Most certification programs are well-run operations that pay careful attention to the definition of objectives and the creation and maintenance of exams that measure them. But there is no watchdog to assure that. Accreditation of certification programs, just as colleges are accredited, is likely to appear in the not too distant future, perhaps within the next few years.
In case you missed any of the certification happenings of 2003 (and who can keep track of it all?) here’s a review of computer certification program developments:
Security is the Word
As with 2002, the word for 2003 was security – lots of it. Quite a few designations aimed at credentialing those who can help us secure our data were launched or expanded, including:
Microsoft added security specialties to the MCSA and MCSE
Sun Certified Solaris Security Administrator was launched.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and ISC2 (International Information Systems Security Consortium Inc) created the ISSEP, a new computer security certification for the National Security Agency (NSA).
ISC2 also expanded its well respected CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) program by adding “concentrations” and an associate program.
Planet3Wireless released the Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP) title.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) was created.
CompTIA’s Security+ is a requirement for the IBM Certified Advanced Deployment Professional — Tivoli Security Management Solutions title.
Citrix Certified Integration Achitect (CCIA) requires completion of a Microsoft design exam.
Novell requires CompTIA IT Project+ for MCNE (Master Certified Novell Engineer) certification, and CompTIA CTT+ (Certified Technical Trainer+) for the CNI (Certified Novell Instructor).
Microsoft accepts CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ or Server+ certifications as alternatives to passing elective exams in the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) on Microsoft Windows 2000 certification.
Novell suggests the vendor neutral Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 1 (LPIC1) as a prerequisite to its new Novell Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) title.
As you would hope, the major certification programs (and by those I mean programs from very big vendors and/or with lots of certified individuals) continued to be updated and in some cases expanded throughout the year.
Microsoft added a soft skill credential – the MSF Practitioner, as well as a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) title, specialist tracks for Messaging, and of course, the Windows Server 2003 tracks. They also returned to detailed score reports, so candidates can once again tell which areas they fell short on if they don’t pass an exam.
Cisco Systems launched a spate of new specialist titles, and redesigned the Cisco Certified Internet Professional (CCIP) to follow the structure as the CCNP and CCDP titles.
CompTIA, which works diligently to make sure its certifications reflect current technology, updated its A+, IT Project+, e-Biz+ titles. As a side note, it’s kind of interesting that CompTIA takes such care to keep its certifications up to date, but doesn’t require its certified individuals to update or complete any continuing requirements to retain certification. Don’t be surprised if that changes in the future.
Apple computer appeared to work more actively on its certification program than ever before, adding an end-user certification program, a help desk specialist title, and updating its Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) and Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) titles to the latest version of Mac OS X.
Major Mergers and Re-Orgs
The big merger of the Hewlett-Packard and Compaq certification programs is proceeding smoothly. All of the Compaq ASE certifications have been integrated into a unified HP certification program. Anyone who was certified under Compaq and doesn’t yet know how this affects them can check the HP certification Web site.
IBM is in the midst of a large reorganization of its certification program as well. As one of the most prolific vendors of certifications, IBM has quite a bit to organize. The new structure organizes certifications around job roles, creating a three skill level hierarchy (sound familiar?). All of the IBM product lines are incorporated, including Lotus and Tivoli.
Certification and Salaries
One of the primary questions that IT professionals always want answered about certification, is – will it help me increase my earnings? At least one research study completed this year indicates the answer is yes. Certification Magazine’s annual salary survey for 2003 queried more than 19,000 IT professionals. The average survey respondent held 3.2 certifications. According to the study, on average, certification brought a 15.1% salary increase to IT professionals in 2003. In the same survey in 2002, that number was just 7%.
Overall, 2003 was a pretty good year for computer certification. Many positive changes took place, and it’s looking a lot like certification in the information technology industry will make it through its somewhat turbulent teen years and mature into a lasting force for computer professionals and their employers.
Anne Martinez is the author of Cheap Web Tricks: Build and Promote a Successful Web Site Without Spending A Dime and Get Certified and Get Ahead. She also is the founder of chúng tôi
As you may know, competitor bidding is the practice of actively bidding on your competitors’ brand name keywords.
This particular search marketing tactic has been around on Google since the late ’00s; prior to that, it wasn’t allowed (by Google, at least — Yahoo! always allowed it).
Competitor bidding can throw the SERP into a bit of chaos for the other brands — and possibly back on you, as well.What Happens When You Bid Competitively
But no matter the reason, it is not going to be a directly profitable scenario for you.
While competitor bidding will drive up the competitor’s cost, if you really anger a big brand it may come back to bite you in the rear.
From a monetary or quantitative standpoint, the impact is clearer and more direct.
Let’s say someone is bidding on your brand name. In this example:
You are Brand A.
The word is [x].
You have a quality score (QS) of 10.
And the bid is $2, so your calculated rank is 20.
Right now, you’re paying about $0.25, as there is no real competition. Along comes competitor Brand B, who starts to bid on the word [x].
They have a low QS; say a 3.
That is what they did to you, so how do you think they will act if you do it to them? Is the juice worth the squeeze?
Yes, competitor bidding does equal chaos. And typically, the bidder with the deepest pockets and best resources comes out the winner (survivor).Why Do Brands Bid Competitively?
The logic as to why can vary. There are several different reasons, but ultimately it comes back to one of 4 reasons:
Your Ego: You have an ego, and it’s influencing this move. It happens to the best of us.
Warning Shot: Your competitor is bidding on you, and you want to “fire a warning shot across the bow” to encourage them to back off.
Brand Awareness: Your competitor is a market share leader and you want to create brand awareness for yourself.
Riding Media Coattails: Your competitor is running strong media (usually TV, radio, print), so you wish to ride its coattails and reap some secondary benefits.
Some of these reasons have some legitimate degree of justification; others do not.
If your purpose is #1, just don’t do it. Save yourself the time and energy.
If your purpose is #3 or #4, your chaos will be controlled. But keep in mind that the goal in those scenarios is a long game. There will be little to no immediate gratification.How Do I Effectively Practice Competitor Bidding?
Let’s walk through it based on the motivation you identified above.Your Ego
This will not end well for you. I can’t assist.Warning Shot
First, confirm that your competitors are consistently bidding on your brand keywords. I recommend looking at your short tail, exact match keywords via auction insights.
Pay attention to who has a high Impression Share and Overlap Rate. Monitor their behavior for 1-2 weeks prior, by day, to confirm there is a clear intent in what they’re doing.
Once confirmed, begin to bid on mid to short tail keywords of their brand name in exact match. Assume your QS will be a 3 or less, which means your bid needs to be 2x that of a non-brand bid.
Then sit and wait for up to a week. Monitor your brand keywords and see if they back off. If they do, you should stop.
You can try a target impression share bid strategy here, but it could get unnecessarily costly (and this tactic is already costly).Brand Awareness
This only makes sense if you pursue the market leaders. If you aren’t sure who they are, don’t do it.
In verticals highly saturated with competition, you’re less likely to get retribution from the leaders vs. in verticals with less competition.
Identify the leader(s) you want to target (don’t do too many, it can get pricey) and utilize a walk-up bid strategy on them.
Start out with a moderate bid — say $0.25-$0.50. Remember, the goal isn’t to be first. It’s to be visible.
Slowly walk the bid up once a week until you start to leapfrog the market leader consistently. Once that happens, back the bid down a bit. Monitor your Impression Share when you hit that upper limit.
After you’ve backed off, move to a top-of-page Impression Share Strategy, with a max CPC 5%-10% below your upper cap.
It’ll be most effective for visibility, without going past the leader and really jacking up the price.Riding Media Coattails
This is the only reason I consistently endorse for proceeding with competitor bidding. It’s just flat-out smart SEM.
Let’s be honest — if you’re competitive bidding, odds are you can’t afford TV, radio, and/or print.
But if the competition can, specifically at a national or regional level that you’re in, then do it.
Bid on their name but try to incorporate as much of their messaging into your ad copy as possible. This gives the less discerning customer the message that you also will serve their need.
Clearly monitor the competitor’s media. Once their campaign ends, pull back or pull out as the benefit you were coasting on has likely disappeared.How Do I Know if My Competitor Bidding is Working?
This is a loaded question, and we’re going right back to the reason you’re doing this in the first place.If It’s for Ego
Just don’t do it. Have I gotten that across yet?If It’s a Warning Shot
Success is based on what stops happening. You’re doing this to let a competitor know you caught them bidding on you.
The hope and dream are that their team is sophisticated enough to catch this, and they back off bidding on you. If they stop, I recommend you stop, as well.
Then we all go back to being friends, sing kumbaya, and go our separate ways.If It’s for Brand Awareness
Success is fairly easy to measure (note: measure does not mean attain). The primary goal is to monitor CTR. It should beat out your high-volume, non-brand keywords but still come in below your brand keywords.
Secondary are your on-site KPIs beyond simple conversions, such as micro-conversions, page depth, and time on site.If It’s for Riding Media Coattails
Ignore CTR. Volume will come in high, at the risk of collateral damage to your competitor. You need to focus on your primary KPIs: onsite behavior, conversions, and engagement.
Accept that and move on, or change your purpose and goal for doing it. At best, this will aid in a lifetime value scenario.Important Tips for Successful Competitor Bidding Strategy
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. Please consult with your own legal counsel.
But I do know what collusion and anti-competitive practices mean.
If you get the idea of reaching out to a competitor to discuss bidding/not bidding on one another, DON’T!
You aren’t the first to come up with this idea.
What I can tell you is that this can be held against you in a federal case. Don’t believe me? Just ask 1800 Contacts.
Competitor bidding is unrestricted at the keyword level. At the ad copy level, it gets a bit gray.
If a brand files its trademark with the search engine, a competitor’s ad will be disapproved if they add the competitor’s name in the ad copy.
If the trademark was never filed with the engine, the competitor’s name can be added to the ad copy. However, there’s a chance your office will receive a cease and desist letter (trust me, I’ve received 5 in 16 years for this).
There is a unique workaround that gets past the engine’s trademark rules: Non-English characters replacing letters. Perfect example: “Jon Corp” is trademarked, but it can be written as “Jοn Cοrρ.”
In this example the letter O has been replaced by the lower case Greek letter of omicron and the letter P has been replaced by the lower case Greek letter of rho.
They render in the engine identically but meet trademark requirements (note: still may not be worth a cease and desist letter).
Competitor bidding should not be where your first dollar goes. It doesn’t make fiscal sense.
Realistically, this is a tactic to try after all other efforts (i.e., brand, non-brand, shopping, etc.) have been done first.In Conclusion
If you plan to bid competitively, prepare for chaos.
Prepare for high costs, and return that will not come immediately.
For a lesser-known brand, competitor bidding can pay dividends — if you’re willing to make the fiscal sacrifices upfront.
All screenshots taken by author, May 2023
The thing about cliché is that it always contains a grain of uninteresting yet vital truth. The fact that the sky’s blueness is so commonplace as to fade into the background of conscious daily thought, for example, does nothing to negate its value to physics, biology, and beyond. When looking at the state of Web3 through the lens of 2023, the cliche understatement that should come to mind is that progress is not linear. But just how progress makes its nonlinear passage through history matters greatly. It’s a jagged thing – its movement messy and unpredictable, even to those well-accustomed to the volatile and the sporadic.
There was plenty of frenetic movement in the world of crypto and NFTs in 2023. Even those outside Web3’s walls are tired of hearing phrases like “bear market” and “crypto winter.” But just as the idea of zooming out is essential in maintaining a balanced mental health outlook in the NFT ecosystem, so is the idea of placing 2023’s troubles and successes in the context of the broader picture of where Web3 is going. When we do so, we find both things to be excited about and cautious of in the coming year.NFTs went green (kind of)
The conversation surrounding NFTs and their impact on the environment evolved in a primarily positive way this year. An increasing amount of people began to realize that the dire claims made by the blockchain’s biggest detractors were largely overblown and without proper framing.
The biggest event that impacted the environmental discussion was Ethereum’s merge in September. The second-largest blockchain’s switch to a proof-of-stake (PoS) validation system meant it reduced its energy consumption by an absurd 99.5 percent and acted as the final stake in the coffin of the already dubious argument that NFTs were bad for the environment.
Beyond its environmental boon, the merge helped set up Ethereum for future growth. Aside from the millions of NFTs the blockchain authenticates, countless other decentralized apps and decentralized financial systems depend on the blockchain to function. Further upgrades that the merge enables include what Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin calls the “surge, verge, purge, and splurge.” These will ensure the blockchain can scale better in the future and allow for a process called “sharding,” which makes network nodes easier to operate.
Beyond all of this, the merge was a much-needed win in a rough year for the crypto community. Ethereum has long been the poster child of NFTs, and that it executed an exceedingly complex engineering feat so smoothly during a crypto winter is nothing to be scoffed at. Like any industry, blockchain-based tech can do more to reduce its environmental presence, but efforts like the merge have shown that it’s not impossible to do so.The royalties debate rages on
The discussion about creator fees/royalties in the NFT space flared up like never before in 2023. While they have remained a major characteristic of the NFT ecosystem for years, royalties aren’t hard-coded into the market or the individual smart contracts that make the buying, selling, and trading of NFTs possible. As talk centered around the role that creator royalties can, should, and do play in the NFT ecosystem began to heat up throughout the year, zero-royalties websites like sudoswap and X2Y2 emerged on the scene, becoming popular platforms in the process.
I have opened my DMs. If you’re a project founder please message me and I will provide you with a form to register your interest for a group call to discuss the implications of what @opensea is proposing as well as our moves together as leaders in the space.
— BETTY (@betty_nft) November 7, 2023
What’s more, several of the community’s biggest marketplaces that support creator royalties — including Magic Eden and OpenSea — went through an identity crisis regarding whether or not they would honor and enforce them and for which collections these rules would apply. OpenSea stirred the pot more than any other platform, given its size and status in the industry. It initially floated a plan to eliminate royalties enforcement for existing collections before facing severe backlash from the community and abandoning the idea.
Taken together, these events helped catalyze a kind of unionization movement amongst artists and builders in Web3 who vocalize two main points. The first is that Web3 and the platforms that help sustain it today would not be what they are without royalties. Artists create the value that the entire ecosystem thrives off of. Take away the royalties that enable them to continue creating, and the whole setup will likely falter. Secondly, one of the most crucial ideas that Web3 is built upon is artist empowerment. The royalties question is a poignant stress test for that ethos and for those individuals and platforms who have gained fame and fortune on the back of such creator fees.Redemption arcs aren’t just for fiction
Several NFT projects came back from tough situations this year that left them with battered reputations and disgruntled or outright enraged investors. The most egregious offenses to NFT communities resulted in prosecution by the Department of Justice. Still, excluding illegality, a handful of communities once thought dead in the water made surprising comebacks in 2023. DeGods rise to fame, Pudgy Penguins’ clever strategy in leveraging their family-friendly IP to branch out beyond the Web3 world, and Pixelmon’s Lazarus trick all fall under this category.
These projects aren’t just noteworthy in their ability to turn around floor prices and investor attitudes; they show the NFT ecosystem that steady innovation, patience, and commitment still walk the Web3 earth. The world of crypto and NFTs is rampant with scams, and to a degree, cynicism and skepticism are necessary tools to navigate a decentralized space wherein no third party has your back. But like any tool, they can be misused. In the context of a crypto winter, it was refreshing to see such redemption arcs. With any luck, 2023 will see more, and we shouldn’t begrudge them their flowers.Crypto and NFT regulation is changing
The complicated relationship between regulatory bodies in the U.S. and the crypto and NFT sphere became even more convoluted in the wake of events like the fall of the algorithmic stablecoin Terra USD and the calamitous collapse of FTX this year.
While it’s too early to tell precisely how these events will alter regulatory efforts in the U.S. and abroad, the pressure to rein in the crypto space to avoid such meltdowns in the future has only grown because of them. While speaking to nft now in July, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce expressed discontent with how the organization and its Chair, Gary Gensler, had formulated a seemingly punitive relationship with the crypto world rather than a constructive one. 2023, she said, was shaping up to be the year of setting a more cooperative basis for future legislative and regulatory regulation in the space.
However, that hope has dimmed in the wake of events like the fall of FTX. Sentiment within and without the Web3 sphere is divided, with individuals in both spaces attributing FTX’s failure to either an excess or lack of decentralization and oversight. That picture is further complicated by accusations from people like Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN), who has accused Gensler’s relationship with SBF and the crypto world of being problematically close to one another, a vision of things that contrasts starkly with the SEC’s movements this year.
Emmer’s (and other regulatory skeptics’) goal may ultimately be to get federal institutions to cool off oversight efforts in an emerging industry whose pockets run deep but whose reputation has taken hit after hit in 2023. Regardless, expect the ethos of decentralization in crypto to face a robust litmus test in 2023. Likewise, expect bad actors to use the coming (and necessary) conversation surrounding the future of decentralization as a cover to shoehorn in policies that declaw the best aspects of Web3 in the name of protecting the traditional financial structures that stand to lose the most from its continued growth.Web3’s troubles make the space stronger (in the end)
It was impossible for those in the space not to have Web3’s most tried-and-true lessons hammered into them this year. Some of the space’s most significant rug pulls occurred in 2023, sharpening Web3 denizens’ intuitions for the NFT red flags that we all should be well aware of by now.
The collapse of Three Arrows Capital, FTX, and Luna and TerraUSD showed everyone how playing fast and loose with people’s money just isn’t going to turn out well, no matter the amount of Web3 evangelizing going on behind it. The space is having a rough go of things, it’s true, but like an immune system dealing with a particularly potent infection, Web3 will likely come out of the year’s difficulties stronger as a whole precisely because of the challenges they presented it.
Condemn cliché all you like, but nothing worth doing ever came easily to those doing it. If Web3 is as valuable and potentially revolutionary as its most prominent proponents say it is — and it might be, at least in some ways — then we should expect its hardships to be on a scale equal to its ambitions. If they weren’t, it would likely be a sign that we’re not aiming high enough. And who wants to do that?
CES 2023 is going ahead despite in-person event concerns
CES 2023 is set to go ahead in January next year, with the organizers of the huge tech show insisting that it will be able to safely organize an in-person event despite COVID-19. The surprise news comes amid ongoing concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has not been sufficiently dealt with, particularly in the US, where things like social distancing efforts have been patchy.
As a result, we’ve seen multiple companies opt to cancel physical events in 2023. Mobile World Congress axed its Barcelona event at the last moment in February, and numerous auto shows and events have been wiped off the calendar. Google called a halt to I/O 2023 altogether, and Apple is running its WWDC 2023 developer event entirely online.
The Consumer Technology Association – the organizing body for the Consumer Electronics Show – isn’t following suit, however. While it says that CES 2023 will “expand the show’s digital reach” it nonetheless insists that a physical event in Las Vegas, NV, is appropriate.
“We are working closely with the Las Vegas community, including the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and hotels venues, as they develop and implement their re-opening plans,” the CTA said in a statement. “We are also working with leading event industry associations as they develop their best practices. And we will ensure our plans follow the recommendations of public health experts and standards set by the federal, state and local governments.”
Perhaps most challenging, however, will be social distancing. The CTA says it will be “widening aisles in many exhibit areas and providing more space between seats in conference programs and other areas where attendees congregate,” but exactly how feasible that is remains to be seen. At CES 2023, for example, around 170,000 attendees and over 4,400 exhibitors were present, across what the CTA says was more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space.
Crowding is a fact of life at CES, and the event is notorious for its potential for picking up the so-called “CES flu” from others on-site. Even with the best of efforts, a not-insignificant number of people report sickness after the show.
Indeed there have been suggestions that, though it only broke into the public conscious later on, COVID-19 could have been a significant factor at CES 2023 in January. An absence of widespread, consistent track and trace policies in the US has left confirming that almost impossible, however.
It’s unclear at this stage how many companies the CTA expects to sign up for CES 2023. “Major brands are committed for the show,” the organization said, though it has not confirmed any specific names. Many major players in the tech space have sworn off physical events altogether for the moment, while automakers – such a fast-growing presence at CES that it was a significant contributing factor to the Detroit Auto Show rescheduling its annual event from mid-January to the summer – have also put in-person events on hold.
Meanwhile there’s the question of attendees. Some who might ordinarily come to the show each year will undoubtedly question that decision given the ongoing pandemic; others, some stung by only receiving partial refunds at best from hotels and airlines after MWC was cancelled, are likely to hold off until closer to January 2023 to see whether the CTA really does go through with its plans.
For those who do want to attend in person, meanwhile, there are multiple travel factors to consider. International travel is still being disrupted as different countries and regions apply restrictions on who can fly where. Mandatory quarantine periods also add to the complexity, since they could end up bookending a visit to the US with as much as four weeks of self-isolation.
Back in May, the organizers of IFA 2023 – the annual European tech show held in Berlin, Germany – announced a severely modified event for this year. Not only will the public no longer be invited to attend, and the show itself trimmed to just three days in total, IFA will be limited to 1,000 media per day. At the time Messe Berlin, the company responsible for IFA, admitted that it would have a significant impact on financial performance for the show.
This summer, spaceflight company SpaceX, contracted by NASA to replace the retired space shuttle, will dock its Dragon spacecraft at the International Space Station. SpaceX
We at PopSci love to find the biggest, coolest, most interesting science and technology innovations. This year promises much to love, including an artificial heart that looks and beats just like a real one, and 3-D entertainment without the goofy glasses–plus, judging by the State of the Union, our president seems bullish on science and tech. So, what else will make 2011 awesome?
Space and Aviation: Space Shuttle Makes Its Final Flight. For Real. Maybe
Endeavour is expected to make its 25th flight in February, but NASA wants to squeeze in one more mission – tentatively scheduled for June 28.
Space and Aviation: Messenger Orbits Mercury, Snaps Photo
In March, after a six-year journey, the Messenger spacecraft will begin taking images of Mercury’s entire surface. The goal: a high-resolution map that will help scientists understand what makes Mercury the solar system’s densest planet.
Space and Aviation: NASA Boosts Private Spaceflight
Funding to fuel the private sector’s development of efficient transportation to and from space most likely jumps to $200 million, from last year’s $50 million. Companies receiving funding in the past include Blue Origin and Boeing.
Space and Aviation: Dark Energy Gets A Closer Look
A 570-megapixel camera, installed on the Victor M. Blanco telescope in Chile, will capture light from more than 300 million distant galaxies. Within those images could be signs of dark energy, the mysterious force that may be what is causing the universe to expand at an increasing rate.
Space and Aviation: Neptune Completes The Solar Circuit
Neptune was discovered in 1846. This year, astronomers observe as the farthest planet from the sun (sorry, Pluto) completes its first full solar orbit since then, a journey of some 17 billion miles.
Space and Aviation: Juno Begins Search For Oxygen On Jupiter
The solar-powered spacecraft launches in August and will reach its final destination, Jupiter’s orbit, in 2023. Juno will measure the thermal radiation emanating from deep inside Jupiter’s atmosphere and determine just how much oxygen is present
Space and Aviation: Private Trucks Take Flight
This summer, spaceflight company SpaceX, contracted by NASA to replace the retired space shuttle, will dock its Dragon spacecraft at the International Space Station
Space and Aviation: Moon Structure Revealed
Launching in September, the GRAIL mission’s twin spacecraft will fly in tandem lunar orbits for three months, measuring the gravitational field of the moon to help determine its inner structure and better understand its origins, as well as those of Earth and other terrestrial planets
Space and Aviation: Spaceport America is Built
By the end of the year, the world’s first commercial spaceport, near Upham, New Mexico, will complete construction of its Terminal Hangar Facility. The main tenant will be Virgin Galactic (pictured here).
Space and Aviation: Virgin Galactic Flies In Space
The suborbital “spaceline” will spend most of the year testing SpaceShipTwo with test crews going into suborbit
Space and Aviation: Mars Science Laboratory Blasts Off
Stronger than Spirit and Opportunity, which have been roaming Mars since 2004, the MSL rover is designed to travel farther across the Red Planet. It will look for conditions that might support life using a high-resolution camera and a laser that identifies rock chemistry
Space and Aviation: Terrafugia’s Flying Cars On Sale At Last
The Terrafugia Transition will finally let you do exactly what PopSci has been promising for decades: land on the tarmac, fold up your wings, and drive into your garage at home. It will cost between $200,000 and $250,000
Science: Scientists Catalog Global Biodiversity
Following the success of the Census of Marine Life, the National Science Foundation ramps up a decade-long survey of species diversity, from the types of microbes that live in the guts of bees to how fungi interact with trees.
Science: Trend Watch: the Hunt for Neutrinos Expands
Physicists study the properties of neutrinos to gain insight into the nature of matter. This year, scientists at the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment will begin analyzing neutrinos released from a nuclear reactor to determine how the particles transform between three different types: electron, muon and tau. The scientists’ goal is to understand why the universe is made primarily of matter and not antimatter. By spring, the IceCube telescope in Antarctica will be at full strength and looking for neutrinos spun out from violent cosmic events like supernovae. Meanwhile, the National Science Board will influence the fate of the proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory. If the lab is built, those scientists will also try to tease out why antimatter is so rare in our universe.
Science: Computer Challenges Humanity at Trivia
Alex Trebek hosts IBM supercomputer Watson on Jeopardy next month. The key to Watson’s success will not be just its vast stores of trivia but also its ability to quickly parse the clues.
Science: Evolutionary Biologists Reveal The Plant Tree of Life
In March, scientists release the most concise analysis of the evolution of plant genes, allowing researchers to study processes like seed production.
Science: Scientists Hope To Make Rare Mares Mothers
Researchers at the National Zoological Park will attempt to produce the first Przewalski’s horse foals conceived by artificial insemination. With only 1,600 of the horses on the planet, every foal counts.
Science: Scientists Vote On The Kilo
Late this year, attendees of the General Conference on Weights and Measures will vote on a plan to fix the magnitude of the kilogram—currently defined by an actual chunk of platinum-iridium alloy held in a vault near Paris—by precisely defining the value of the Planck constant.
Science: Oil Cleanup X-Prize Winners Announced
Last August, the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge asked inventors to devise a method for removing oil from the ocean’s surface. The first-prize winner will take home $1 million.
Science: New Supercomputer Will Become World’s Fastest
When researchers at IBM power up Blue Waters late this year, it will be four times as fast as today’s most powerful supercomputer, the Tianhe-1a system at China’s National Supercomputing Center. Blue Waters will perform 10 quadrillion calculations per second.
Medicine: China Bans Smoking Indoors
Medicine: Novartis Speeds Vaccine Production
The pharmaceutical giant Novartis says it has developed a method for growing influenza vaccines in cell cultures, rather than the chicken eggs that are normally used. This method could be used to produce vaccine against pandemic flu as soon as this year.
Medicine: Health Reform Brings Free Preventive Care
Those whose health insurance renews this month will see changes in coverage, as the 2010 Affordable Care Act requires all new plans to cover the cost of flu shots, some cancer screenings, and blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests.
Medicine: California Protects Stem-Cell Research
As the U.S. government considers another ban on the federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research, placing $200 million in funded studies on the line, California steps up: it will spend $243 million on stem-cell research, up $23 million from last year
Medicine: Patients Receive New Artificial Heart
This fall, the French firm Carmat will begin human trials of the first prosthetic heart made from synthetic and animal tissues that beats with the fluidity of a human heart and pumps blood with the same rhythm.
Medicine: HIV-Vaccine Trial Results Are In
By the end of the year, Mymetics will publish the results of a Phase 1 clinical trial of its vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus. An earlier animal study showed that the vaccine, which triggers antibodies in both blood and mucus membranes, provided 100 percent protection.
Medicine: Trend Watch: New Vaccines Debut In Developing Countries
Many people’s immune systems will get a much-needed boost this year. Because developing nations often cannot afford vaccines that we take for granted, pneumonia and diarrhea kill one million children in those countries every year. To combat pneumococcal bacteria, the biggest killer of children under five, an international group of governments, nonprofit organizations and vaccine manufacturers known as the GAVI Alliance will introduce a vaccine in 19 countries by this summer, with the goal of reaching more than 40 countries by 2023. GAVI also plans to bring a rotavirus vaccine, which helps prevent diarrhea, to Africa this year. In addition, more than 30 million Africans will receive a new vaccine called MenAfriVac that fights off meningitis. It costs 40 cents a dose and is expected to prevent 123,000 deaths in the next decade.
Environment: EPA Limits CO2 Emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency enacts the first set of federal regulations and permits to control greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, oil refineries and cars. Model-year 2012 passenger cars must put out an average of no more than 263 grams of carbon per mile.
Environment: LEDs Hit Home Depot
Retailers will start selling EnergyStarrated LED bulbs that glow just like conventional 60-watt incandescents. The bulbs will cost between $30 and $60, compared with less than $10 for many compact fluorescents. But the LED bulb will last five times as long, so they will still turn on in 2057.
Environment: Mining of Rare-Earth Minerals Restarts In The U.S
Amid fears that China will someday stop exporting rare-earth minerals, the mining firm Molycorp will reopen the Mountain Pass, California, mine it had shut down in 2002. Its chief product will be bastnasite ore, a source of neodymium for magnets inside devices such as earbuds.
Environment: Jets Switch To Biofuel
Planes filled with biofuels, which have a smaller carbon footprint than conventional jet fuel, will be lining up for takeoff. Specifications and official approval of these biofuels by the standards organization ASTM International could take effect by midyear.
Environment: Population Tops Seven Billion
The Earth will support twice as many people as it did 40 years ago. Four babies are born every second in developing nations; in the rest of the world, birth rates are in decline. Birth rates are currently highest in Niger and lowest in Monaco.
Environment: Wind Power, Losing Energy
Nationwide wind-power efforts will slow to the lowest level in four years, as federal grants for new projects expire this year. But there is still some good news: The 845-megawatt Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, the largest wind farm in the world, will break ground in Oregon.
Environment: Solar Goes Big
The first major solar-power projects on public lands start converting sunlight to electricity this year. California’s Chevron Lucerne Valley installation will comprise 40,500 photovoltaic panels. Some 140 miles south in the Imperial Valley, Tesera Solar aims to produce 709 megawatts with its SunCatcher concentrated-solar dishes.
Technology and Entertainment: Film Release: Sanctum
A 3-D thriller produced by James Cameron, Sanctum follows a team of divers trapped in an underwater cave in the South Pacific. To shoot in the caverns, crews outfitted the $1-million camera with a waterproof case. It’s out next month.
Technology and Entertainment: Film Release: Green Hornet
Technology and Entertainment: LTE Networks Cover The U.S.
Verizon and AT&T; will launch competitors to Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network with their own, based on the LTE standard. Verizon will unveil six LTE-enabled devices at the Consumer Electronics Show this month, while AT&T; will provide 75 million customers with LTE service by the end of the year.
Technology and Entertainment: Android Tablets Challenge iPad Dominance
The Motorola Stingray, out soon, is the latest in a small but growing field of Android tablets to compete with the iPad. Android took a bite out of both Apple and BlackBerry last year, emerging as the top operating system among new smartphone buyers.
Technology and Entertainment: Trend Watch: 3-D Entertainment In Your Living Room
This year we’ll see not only the next generation of 3-D TVs, but also a series of 3-D videogames to play on them,including Sony’s Killzone 3 and MotorStorm Apocalypse. Most of them will require “active” 3-D glasses, which need a power source to operate. A newer trend is the retooled passive-3-D system, which swaps the powered glasses for lightweight ones that don’t require sequentially turning each of the lenses on or off. The electronics company Vizio says it should have a passive-3-D TV on the market soon. And in March, Nintendo eschews glasses altogether when it releases the Nintendo 3DS, the first glasses-free handheld 3-D game system
Technology and Entertainment: Game Release: Rage
Doom and Quake creator John Carmack brings postapocalyptic first-person shooter Rage to gamers in September will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Technology and Entertainment: Game Release: Brink
Splash Damage’s “genre breaker” introduces the Smooth Movement across Random Terrain (SMART) system and an innovative integration of single and multiplayer gameplay combining online and virtual teammates. It will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC this spring.
Technology and Entertainment: Ford Enters The Electric Car Market
Drafting behind the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, the all-electric 2012 Ford Focus Electric hits the streets this year—and keeps going for 100 miles on a charge. It will come with a special 240-volt plug for home-garage charging and a 120-volt one that fits into a standard outlet when you’re on the go.
Technology and Entertainment: TV Finally Loses The Remote
3-D gesture recognition moves from computers to your TV. New set-top boxes made by Softkinetic enable viewers to interact with their TV with just a wave of their hand. A 3-D video camera captures the user’s movements, and the box translates those movements into commands the TV understands
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