Remember When I Said It’s Over?

Said it here. Proof points piling up, see this and this: Today our US Search Engine Performance Report: Q2 2008 was released. Analysis of data from our client index showed that Google took more than its fair share of the overall increase in search spending: for every new dollar…

Said it here. Proof points piling up, see this and this:

Today our US Search Engine Performance Report: Q2 2008 was released. Analysis of data from our client index showed that Google took more than its fair share of the overall increase in search spending: for every new dollar spent on search in Q2 2008 versus Q2 2007, $1.10 went to Google. Yahoo lost $0.09, and Microsoft lost $0.01. In other words, advertisers are putting all of their new search dollars into Google, and pulling money out of Yahoo Search and Microsoft Live Search.

If I were at Google, I’d be more than a bit worried. Why? Because once you’ve vanquished your competition, then what?

12 thoughts on “Remember When I Said It’s Over?”

  1. I tend to agree (although I think that they’ll probably have a while before they start going down – Microsoft didn’t exactly vanish as soon as it hit its peak). One thing though – all of this analysis is US/Euro-centric. The biggest opportunities are China, India, Japan, Korea etc.. and in those markets Google doesn’t have anything like the same market share. Baidu as Google’s real threat anyone?

  2. I keep seeing quotes from Google about how all this is driven by “overseas markets”.

    I’m not a finance person, but my first thought is this: The dollar is really weak right now.

    So I find myself wondering: If you normalize Google’s raw income by the different exchange rates, what would this mean to the bottom line? Is Google’s overseas performance driving the bottom line, because advertisers are increasing their spending in droves, or because the existing advertiser base is using a currency that is “worth more”?

    Can someone with more knowledge than me answer this?

  3. Interesting thoughts… My question is what do you do when you are the top dog to avoid a monopoly situation? At what point is it “your fault”? Should you be less innovative or just not try very hard?

    It’s a little confusing where that line is. And, why is everyone lagging behind so dramatically?

  4. ShaneeK, I have said this many times before (and John has also supported this idea): One-size fits all search is dead.

    I implore all of the readers of searchblog to take 10 mins and take a look at the video of the introductory session to the CM Summit, in which John gave an overview of the direction the search industry is headed.

    And JG, this is totally in line with your recent comment about signals.

    This new engine that FM is building is a vast undertaking, and it appears to be taking form as somewhat of an “open measurement meta engine” (insofar as FM intends to work towards standardization, it must be open; and it would also influence “search engine” designs, insofar as these standards play a role in the “measurement” of information retrieval processes).

    I expect that John will be seeking alot of input from the “stakeholders” in “conversational media”.

    Google is no longer the only game in town. The reason why people don’t readily “get this” is because the “search engine industry” is a misnomer — since people still think that Google is the “quintessential” search engine, a “search engine” is becoming more and more defined as “something that looks like Google” (so therefore search engine tracking firms don’t normally track or as if they were search engines [indeed, Danny Sullivan said a while back that he no longer considered to be a search engine, simply because they seem to have abandoned the “one-size fits-all” approach]). So all in all: If you define a market as “something that looks like Google”, then it is no surprise that Google would have close to 100% of that market. The thing is: that market is becoming less significant as the Google brand is becoming “old-fashioned” (think: “old media”) and as more and more “digital natives” (with far less “traditional brand” awareness) enter the marketplace (and BTW: it’s interesting to note that some “traditional publishing” companies apparently “get” this — and in particular: in a way that neither Google nor Microsoft have “caught on to” yet).

    However, there may still be a role for such “one-size fits-all” engines, insofar as there are still people who still do not understand how to use their browsers to navigate to the “desired” website. However, as research has shown, this is not usually the target audience advertisers are trying to reach — so it will become increasingly difficult for such simple algorithmic engines to make a profit from this target audience (since advertisers will increasingly be expecting more BANG for their buck.

  5. nmw: You have some good points. I think where we disagree is on informational vs. navigational searches. For informational searches, rather than navigational I still think that a one-size-fits-all, or “general purpose” search engine is necessary.

    The problem is that I don’t see Google really doing much to support informational searches. The type of system that they are building is geared more directly toward navigational searches.

  6. And my ongoing hypothesis about why Google tends to build out its system only toward navigational, rather than informational, searches is that it can’t sell advertising against informational searches.

    Suppose for example that you are trying to find information on the causes of rising inflation in Latvia. Who is going to advertise against any of the queries that you do, in your seeking/search process, trying to fulfill your information need? No one. Or, if someone does, the quality of the ad is probably going to be pretty low. What ad would ever be relevant to my queries, in that situation? Flights to Latvia? Maybe, but I doubt it. Interest-bearing bank accounts that help me beat inflation? Most likely not.

    So since Google will never make any money on those types of searches, it subtly gears its system, and its interfaces, and its interaction paradigm, away from those types of searches. By its design, rather than overtly, it discourages the use of its engine in that manner.

    That, to me, is the bigger problem here. Currently, there are no major, full-web, general search engines that actively try to support my information seeking, rather than simply navigational, behaviours. Google should be leading the way, but doesn’t.

  7. I tried — but you’re right: there was no information about inflation in Latvia.

    And I don’t know the Latvian language (and I didn’t even know the Latvian TLD! :O).

    Well, so I typed “latvia” into (and again: mostly Google ads on the generic domains). I tried the .EU link — and lo and behold: information about the economy in Latvia in English.

    So I don’t know why we need a one-size fits-all solution. The Internet wasn’t designed for one-size fits-all. For that, it would be much easier to use an encyclopedia… — remember those?

  8. nmw: The reason why we wouldn’t use an encyclopaedia is that often the information that we need is “on the fly”, or “constructed as a specific condition of my information need, current state of knowledge, and items that I consider related”.

    For example, an encyclopaedia might have information about Latvia. And an encyclopaedia might have information about the causes of rising inflation, what multiple conditions in an economy cause inflation.

    But an encyclopaedia will not have information about the specific set of conditions for Latvia, in the past three years, and what might and might not have caused inflation.

    The purpose of me doing a search is to seek sources and pieces of informaiton that might allow me to determine, for myself, why inflation might be rising. That is *what search is*! That is what organizing the world’s information is! Allowing me the easy ability to gather knowledge about such matters, myself.

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