As the whole whole of "spider based" search engines continues to consolidate, one has to ask about the future of metasearch engines --- is there any? If altavista/fast/inktomi get mushed together, you're left with:
beyond that, things start getting mucuh more fuzzy in terms of size and breadth. So beyond the PPC side, does there exist a future for meta search engines? Further consolidation makes me wonder even more. Ultimately yuou end up with a yield optimized "meta ppc search engine backfilled or integrated with one of the above four".
of course msft is the wildcard but i think i have already made my opinions there clear. (ie/netscape, msft/google scenario)
I have been wondering about the same thing. frankly this represents an opportunity for the smaller spidering engines and a couple of general directories. I think it might really open up the field and let these smaller search providers advance and new ones get started.
As you say we are coming close to having only PPC stuff available for metasearch engines.