Yes, it is official, the 14-year old programmers are back, that means concrete proof that we have a new dotcom boom emerging--but this time with an interesting twist.
The twist is this: The 14 year olds are not being employed by corporations, as was the case during the dotcom-hungry-for-html-skills mania of Internet 1.0. They are being employed by the 18 year olds, their older brothers, in a sense.
Let me give you some background: I am the very fortunate father of two children who are making their own individual paths in the world. My daughter Sarah is 11 1/2 and is a force of nature. My son Matthew, just recently turned 18 is also fiercely independent.
It is from Matt that I get a few clues to what is going on [in his culture]. And Matt has adopted a hobby of mine: buying domain names. Except that he got a check for $310 from ad networks, for his collection of domain names which amount to about 50 in total, or ten percent of my domain name collection.
Matt is making more money out of the internet than I am. Whenever I experiment with Google ads, or Yahoo, or Adbrite, or any of the contextual ad networks I make about 75 cents per day.
And that is with SVW, a web site that in some months, has nearly 3m hits, and more than 850K unique page views, and an Alexa ranking that puts SVW in the top 20,000 web sites worldwide.
That's not too shabby. Yet I make $20 per month and Matt makes $310. I think I need to work for Matt.
But back to the point of this post. . .
It is not just Matt, but his friends too, that are throwing up their own content web sites,and getting several hundred dollar deals to put up web/blogging sites for local businesses.
Matt, for example, will read Sarah's teen magazines to read what the culture of that generation is talking about, who the rising stars are in that group, and he will buy domain names that reflect and reference that culture.
Matt is making some of his money from what I call bottom feeding, the collection of stray clicks that come from people entering search terms into the browser address box [BTW: that's the sweet spot to be] and the browser directing those entries to a registered domain name.
But he and his friends are also building sites. And they are employing their younger friends, the fourteen year-olds to do some of the coding and other admin tasks.
And the fourteen year olds are most probably outsourcing the work to the 10 year-olds :-)