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60% Would Leave in a Heartbeat
What a fickle web it is...
Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 3:59 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

[thisismoney.com...]

60% of Google users said they would switch search engines if a better service were introduced.

The survey also had bad news for Google's planned free email service, with fewer than 25% of respondents saying they would be very likely to use it.


 

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:02 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Would you expect anything less? Why WOULDN'T you switch to a better service? That's not "fickle" - that's being smart.

If another search engine gave me more relevant results than Google did, I would be stupid NOT to switch. Why settle for second-rate results when you can get first-rate results just by typing in a different URL?

rfgdxm1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:03 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Makes sense. Easy to switch what search engine you use, and it costs zilch to do so. As for Gmail, if Google got 10% of the e-mail market, that is HUGE. Note that Gmail is web based. I have no need of a web based mail service.

borisbaloney

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:03 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wonder what the percentage was in the AV days? 60% sounds remarkably low to me.

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:13 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wonder what the percentage was in the AV days? 60% sounds remarkably low to me.

Personally I think that "opinion numbers" in most articles are bogus. You watch the news and they say "X% of Americans are against the war in Iraq." How the hell do they know? Have YOU ever been asked your opinion on a subject? Has ANYONE you know? You know who participates in those types of polls? SURVEY GEEKS. People who answer those "get paid to fill out surveys" advertisements. They christmas-tree the friggin thing so they can get their 40 cents, and then CNN goes out and says these clowns represent public opinion. Not where I live, buddy.

The moral of the post is never pay attention to opinion percentages in news articles. They're usually either biased, paid for, or completely maid up. I suspect that WAY more than 60% of people would switch to a better product.

john_k

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:18 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is nothing locking the user into the search engine, so why not?

This is where Google (and also Microsoft & maybe AOL) will seek to gain a push-pull advantage. They need to entice users to lock into their search engine and also incent website publishers to somehow tie-in to the search engine.

The first and best way to hook the users is to deliver noticeably better (on-target) results via searches that appear simple to the user. Google has that right now.

Google's toolbar is another attempt to hook users and keep them using Google.

Other possibilities might be premium services and product tie-ins? How about frequent flier miles for each search? Don't take this too literally, I am just saying that they will be trying increasingly innovative AND aggresive methods to lock users into their search engine.

As for website publishers, they have a good start at getting sites tailored to their search algorithms. But, just like the users, if a better service happens along, there is not much to keep them loyal. AdSense may be something that they could leverage right away. Ban the Microsoft bot on your site and get an extra percentage on your click throughs. (Since nobody is certain what % they get now, that wouldn't be too hard for them to claim!)

BTW - The article states that Standard & Poors commissioned the study, but who paid them? They don't do that stuff for free either.

[edited by: john_k at 4:20 pm (utc) on June 8, 2004]

borisbaloney

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:20 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Free knowledge and freedom of choice in the Internet age. The best products at the best price.

I absolutely love it.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:32 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's another problem. Google has become a household name when it comes to the Internet. They've become so ingrained in the Internet community that it will be quite some time before they lose the dominating market share.

There are already search engines out there that are equal to or better than Google in my opinion. Do I use them? At times, but Google is still my main search engine of choice.

Do you ever stop and think how much of an impact the webmaster community had on Google's success? In the beginning we were friends, now we've become foes. What gives with that? ;)

This community could easily influence and change the tides. All we would need to do is start promoting alternative search engines to our clients. Sooner or later, they will make the change. I know of a few clients right now that if I suggested to them that they install the Yahoo! toolbar and uninstall their Google toolbar, they would. It's that simple. We can make a difference!

j4mes

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:35 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

25% of respondents saying they would be very likely to use it.

Considering the numbers that use Google, for 25% to already be sure they want Gmail, I'd say that was a huge number of people! :)

Dynamoo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:45 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

60% of Google users said they would switch search engines if a better service were introduced.

Like Alltheweb? Ooops.. nope, that's gone. That was about the only thing I can think of that actually produced better results that Google, but it was only ever a niche SE. Sadly missed though - the Yahoo results it comes out with now are rubbish.

rfgdxm1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:51 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Like Alltheweb? Ooops.. nope, that's gone. That was about the only thing I can think of that actually produced better results that Google, but it was only ever a niche SE. Sadly missed though - the Yahoo results it comes out with now are rubbish.

My logs show plenty of hits from Yahoo and MSN. Maybe they are rubbish; however many nonetheless use them.

Jbrookins

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 4:56 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd have to see the statistics...I'm thinking it doesn't really tell you much of anything. Who did they ask? What was the demographic? What was the wording of the question? The answers? How many people?

The study itself seems deeply irrelevant and flawed. "A better service" is an arbitrary value. Better how? Obviously, people would switch if it was significant. Google is free, the replacement would be free. It requires almost no change of habits or inconvenience other than typing in a different url.

Think about this: When you consider changing something for a better product, what is the primary concern? Cost vs. Value. Google is free so where is the cost? Next is convenience. How would changing search engines inconvenience Joe Consumer? It wouldn't. So the only thing left is value, and "better" wins just about every time.

Google has a low customer loyalty when faced with "a better product"? When you leave a statement like that in the mix, people will fill in "better" to constitute whatever they consider worthy of such a term.

Only 25% think they'll get involved with a product that hasn't even come out yet? And? Have we set the bar on Google so high that we expect people to be breaking down the door on their free email service that's hardly original before it's even released?

The real trick is convincing potential customers that you DO have a better service, which isn't nearly as easy as it would seem. Google is now trying to muddy the waters a bit by doing email and potentially desktop search. Inconvenience will now be a factor.

Jbrookins

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:03 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pageone, I'd argue that while it was easy for us to change the tide back in the day, alot has changed in the last few years. The population of the internet is vastly different than pre-bubble.

It could still be done, sure, but it'd be one hell of an accomplishment to move market forces like that with anything less than a HUGE concerted effort.

moishe

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:05 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

As to the numbers, I agree 100% with DigitalV, at 36 years old, registered to vote for 18, etc.; I have never been asked to participate in a survey. (I was once asked to sign a petition to get Ralph Nadar on the ballot ROFL)
These numbers mean nothing. I have done a lot of PC tech work over the past 10 years and here is what I do know from sitting in front of thousands of P.C's used by people in every walk of life:
MSN is the homepage on most P.C's shipped, so MSN search gets used a lot, but then you must factor in AOL, they are huge and they pull their results from Google. The more tech-savy people are using Google because they are more likely to go out and look for better results. To me this means that the two biggest users of Google are the least tech-savy (AOL users) and the most tech-savy (IE all the people here who use G)
Sure, if something better comes along, you and I might switch, but the AOL users?

The point of all of this is this. If 60% of Google users say they would switch, that is 60% of people who actually know they are using Google, not AOL or something else fed by Google. I am certain that their are people out there with the ability to build a better search enginge, but do they have the money to catch up? Heck no, Microsoft has the cash to build a 100k server farm but will it get them any more search customers than they already get from pushing MSN as the homepage on virtually every PC sold? I doubt it. The search game has gotten too big for a new upstart to make a dent and just as we do not see wild (60%) swings in TV viewership, I doubt we will see massive swings in search engine usage. Just my 2 cents, sorry for rambling:)

iblaine

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:08 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's also interesting to read the article as:
40% of Google users said they would not switch search engines if a better service were introduced.

Google should be happy that at least 40% of their users are loyal enough to stick with Google regardless of better offerings from other companies.

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:23 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why is that bad news? I bet Google would have expected higher.

But they seemed to miss out on one important point in that article. There has to be a notably better (in everyone's view) search engine before that would happen. And I just don't see that happening any time soon.

It will take a huge influx of cash to be able to compete with Google now, so the only players that I can see are MSN and Yahoo. MS is just too greedy to ever be able to give clean free results. And Yahoo is only a little better, but they might actually learn.

But they don't have to only do as well as Google, they need to surpass Google. And since they are pretty much following Google's lead, that leaves it up to Google to screw up bigtime.

As for Gmail, in what universe are they living in where 25% of all users signing up for webmail is considered low?

Of course google is a risk, but so is every tech company.

Macro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:23 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hate to admit this but the medium term outlook is for MSN to dominate. And, the sad part is that it's for the wrong reasons i.e. it's the default SE offered to users rather than because it's the best :(

mquarles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:24 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

40% of Google users said they would not switch search engines even if a better service were introduced.

I wonder how many of the 40% have posted in this thread....

MQ

eWhisper

WebmasterWorld Administrator ewhisper us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:27 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's all in the wording:

From Brett's link:
The survey also had bad news for Google's planned free email service, with fewer than 25% of respondents saying they would be very likely to use it.

From: [dmnews.com...]
In good news for Google, InsightExpress found solid demand for Google's new e-mail service, Gmail. Despite a flurry of reports on privacy concerns surrounding Gmail scanning e-mails for keyword advertising, 23 percent of searchers said they were very likely or somewhat likely to sign up for the service.

I don't think overall this is anything unexpected. People are finicky, and go where they can get the best value for their keyword.

seo2004wow

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:31 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here is already a good engine out there www.teoma.com it comes up with great results all the time.

Rugles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:33 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>>I have never been asked to participate in a survey.

I have been surveyed several times by the big polling companies. I only participate in the ones that concern politics. If it is consumer research I decline.
I suspect the reason I get the call is because I am now on some sort of list of people who will spend 15 minutes on the phone to answer a hundred questions. It is rather a tedious exercise but when you see the poll in the news, you get a bit of a kick. In a way it is more powerful part of democracy than even voting. The big decision makers (note: most deny that they pay attention to polls, publically), make policy based on polling results.
When done properly, these polls are very accurate. If they were not accurate, the people who are writing the checks would cease to use them.

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:38 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would use teoma more if they actually crawled enough of the web to be useful. That is where the money comes into it. Those with the money are not good at figuring out quality, and those that understand quality do not have enough money to implement it properly.

Right now that leaves Google for 90% of my searching, and the others for when google does not meet my needs.

pleeker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:42 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The thing is -- habits are VERY hard to break. I've been telling myself for months to spend more time with Teoma and even A9. (I really want to see if A9 gets better the more it learns about me.) But in the end, my searches always seem to go through Google. The Google search box built in to Safari is just too much of a convenience. It's become habit.

IITian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:44 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, 60% would leave in a heartbeat if there is a bundled decent SE. Make it 90%. Remaining 10% would be researcher and professor-types who never buy a thing anyway. So why bother.

mayor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:52 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I doubt if the average user really can tell which search engine is better at this point in time. So expect them to remain creatures of habit until something revolutionary comes along.

EquityMind



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 5:59 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

<I know of a few clients right now that if I suggested to them that they install the Yahoo! toolbar and uninstall their Google toolbar, they would. It's that simple. We can make a difference!>

That is so true. My clients live and die by what I tell them and imagine the power we have collectively if we were to try and change the tide.

EquityMind

blaze

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 6:14 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

25% is bad news? Wooooh, someone is smoking something.

25% is incredibly good news beyond belief!

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 6:26 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a troll poll. :-)

In reality, only a finy fraction of that 60% would leave in a heartbeat, because the rest wouldn't even know that a "better service" had been introduced.

colinf

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 6:32 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Build it..........and they will come

john_k

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24317 posted 6:39 pm on Jun 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Woohoo! I have an old pentium II set up to start spidering tonight. I plan on starting off slowly and only indexing 1 billion pages the first day. I have a completely separate box setup to handle search queries.

I guess I'll probably file for an IPO next week.

(this is so easy, I can't understand why nobody else has done it before!)

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