Just about anybody who does business on the Internet wishes for a time machine. The basic idea would be able to discern nascent trends online so your company could take advantage of them and be the hero of the moment at least once a day.
Well, turns out one service has spent more than six years categorizing the Web using a custom search and text-analytics engine for on 5.5 million sources of data to track supply and demand on any given topic.
The Internet Time Machine service allows users to sign up for various levels of service depending on what they are trying to accomplish and the depth required. At its most basic level, the service can be used, for example, to identify that the number of people requesting information on toddler tantrums has been increasing lately. As it turns out, the number of sources of information on that topic is comparatively limited. According to The Internet Time Machine CEO Curt Dalton, when there is an imbalance between demand for information on a topic and suppliers of that content, it usually means that content providers have an opportunity to create more content on that topic and can probably sell some premium advertising space.
The Internet Time Machine aggregates content information from Google, blogs, websites, social networks and other sources to track the available supply. Publishers of this content can register to include their sites as part of The Internet Time Machine service if they are not already included.
The ability to identify Web trends in real time could provide a key competitive advantage in a world where knowing something before everybody else does can make all the difference. The challenge, of course, is that once you have access to the tools to find that information, how do you figure out how to ask the kinds of questions that nobody else has yet thought to ask? After all, it's only the answers to those questions that will ultimately provide you with a competitive advantage.
Naturally, the folks at The Internet Time Machine have some suggestions based on the keywords and topics you're interested in. But they share those suggestions with everybody, so the more you come up with on your own, the more valuable the answers really might be.