7 years ago, if a hyip got 2000 members, it was likely that it would have $1-2m+ invested. Today, if a site has 10000 members, its unlikely that it even has $100,000. While some people are benefiting from this, the fast majority of users suffer. In order to attract bigger investments, hyips must spend thousands on advertising, rather than spending this money paying members. The result is shorter lived hyips and lower returns.
Take TG for example...used to be pages of new posts in the General section everyday and your thread would barely get any time on the 1st page etc.
This is another clear example of the type of members that are left. When TG was full of actual investors, who spoke English proficiently, there was alot of good quality discussion on TG. Now, 90% of the new posts are "I got paid!' in the hyip folder.
The number of scams has increased dramatically, while the amount of dollars going into them has shrunk. Scripts, such as gold coders have broken down any barriers that once existed to starting a hyip, so they're popping up everywhere. That being said, I still think there is money to be made in hyips. When investing, NEVER invest in a program that is using a generic script such as Gold Coders. Also, look for high quality features such as nice designs, custom programming and admins who speak English. While these are still probably scams in the long run, if you invest early, you'll probably do well.
As for where it is headed, I'm not quite sure. If the government continues to intervene, it will fizzle away pretty quickly (though I don't really see this happening). Time will tell!