homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.227.41.242
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / Marketing and Biz Dev / General Search Engine Marketing Issues
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: mademetop

General Search Engine Marketing Issues Forum

This 85 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 85 ( 1 [2] 3 > >     
Nielsen Says Search Engines are Leeches
are they sucking away your profits?
thrasher141




msg:251600
 4:44 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Has anybody read this latest Alertbox on search engines [useit.com]?

Nielsen basically says that if you rely on search traffic (PPC mostly) then you will never be able to increase your profit margin much because you will continually have to bid higher on your keywords. Anybody find this to be true? Do keywords continually increase? Is there any way to work together (with one's competitors even) to set a limit to the bidding wars and stop the evil empire?

 

NazaretH




msg:251630
 8:34 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

1999: Google = Google (and you use it, and it's fun)
2005: Google = Search (and you make money from it, and it's FUN)
2010: Google = Internet/Computer/You name it (and you just watch and there's no need in YOU)

Search Engines are Leeches. Period.
They wouldn't be, if they could stay SEs alone.

Search is too important and too influental tool to be monopolized/commercialized. In fact, what we're seeing now is that one big company becomes a must-use path to our sites and they work hard on substituting YOUR content/products/services with their own, offering them on SERPs.

For now you may think it's not a problem, but give it a short wait and the big G may come to YOUR biz territory. Step by step they add more and more services of their own and make entire industries die (think web-analitics/stats, banner ads, maps, etc.)

Imagine a dramatic Google switch to "Google Sites Only" default search, when you have to tick an extra checkbox to search for external sites. Does it sound impossible?

Imagine IE serving a few links to MS services every time you open a new site.

Imagine Network Solutions adding a sidebar ads to every site requested.

Google should have stayed a search engine, otherwise it's TOO powerful for what Internet was meant to be.

Like the freedom of Internet? Forget it. Search is TOO popular. and unfortunately SEARCH = Google at the moment.

blaze




msg:251631
 11:50 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the answer is blogs.

People are going to find information more and more from people they respect and admire rather than some random computer alogorythm.

I have people like Ray Kurzweil and Mitch Kapor on my RSS reader to find out new stuff. I buy products only because other people recommend them, not because of marketing campaigns and advertising.

trillianjedi




msg:251632
 11:53 am on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the answer is blogs.

I've also (for personal use) stopped using Google News/Alerts etc, in favour of an RSS reader and my favourite bloggers for keeping up to date on the world of widgets.

That marks quite a significant change for me.

TJ

Lexur




msg:251633
 12:49 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the answer is blogs.

I think the answer is content.

What you're talking about is something Yahoo! is trying to do and the results are really very poor.
Wether Yahoo! gives a good travel content or not, i.e., there is a lot of travellers/publishers doing it for themselves and people like their websites and like the hand-made "taste" of the sites.

Always, someone must write the content and it must be fresh and original and any big company can't do it.

Craig_F




msg:251634
 1:11 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the answer is blogs.

I think the answer is to give them plenty of blood.

They are leeches after all...just try to make sure that most of the blood you give somehow gets traffic/money back in your pocket.

Also, keep in mind there are many types of other high profile leeches these days with more popping up each day. So it's not just the search engines that are the issue here.

Most sites can't stop them so I think a better question is:

Does your site bleed?

mendeleev




msg:251635
 1:28 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

His analysis is correct, if he assumes that there will never be any competition among search engines - which will eat away at that margin.

I see his article as another rant against "obscene profits". Maybe he had a "a few too many" over the holidays, and is just in a bad mood.

gtinnaro




msg:251636
 2:23 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm not currently in the PPC game, and I think Nielsen had a lot of good points about how changes in the behavior of top search companies has an impact on those of us who do the work to create them, but from a marketing perspective, I think he missed the obvious -- ROI. Search's cost will always be limited by the ROI it brings, (or sometimes the vanity of the players involved). Those who don't make money in that space won't play.

King of all Sales




msg:251637
 3:13 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Here's an interesting story that may have something to do with this.

About 6 months ago, I was doing research for a blog and clicked on a link to a London newspaper's website. A pop-up window appeared, which I thought was odd since I was using Firefox.

The window was only a simple search interface very similar to Google's, but it was titled "USE IT" with large colorful letters. There was no explanation - just the search box.

So I typed in a keyword and was pleased to see that our site ranked at or near the top. I was then distracted by something and absentmindedly closed the page.

I was not able to get it back and have never seen it since. Later that day, I looked on Nielsen's site to see if I could find some reference to it but had no luck. I just assumed that he must be testing something.

Has anybody else seen anything of that?

dmerton




msg:251638
 3:53 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

King of Sales, I'd bet it sas usedotcom that you found.

King of all Sales




msg:251639
 4:47 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

dmerton-

You must be right. I guess I saw the "Just Use It" part and remebered "Use It." It looks like they're using sponsored results for the top 5 positions without labeling them as such.

Powdork




msg:251640
 4:51 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes that's a wonderful search engine for finding hidden text. Here is a snippet from one of the results. Yes, this whole snippet is there though I have replaced the location name with 'my location'
my location real estate my location property my location riding my location babes my location beaches.my location food my location history.. ..my location view my location drive my location beach my location tan my location boat.my location boating my location event my location.. ..my location mountains my location info my location pictures my location daily my location new my location free my location balloon lake

Oh yeah i almost forgot. The results are awful.

farmboy




msg:251641
 4:56 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've also (for personal use) stopped using Google News/Alerts etc

Google News would be a lot more useful if they would actually quality check a site before having it listed as a news source. I've seen ugly versions of Made for Adsense sites show up as news sources.

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:251642
 4:58 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Always, someone must write the content and it must be fresh and original and any big company can't do it.

Well said. And there are lots of examples of that in the brick and mortar world also.

FarmBoy

europeforvisitors




msg:251643
 5:04 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

someone must write the content and it must be fresh and original and any big company can't do it.

Whether a big company can do it obviously depends on the type of content, IMHO. It all comes down to costs and revenue.

Example: I recently wrote an in-depth article with photos on a small watchmaking city in Switzerland that isn't even mentioned in most guidebooks. I'll probably end up owning that topic as far as English-language editorial coverage on the Web is concerned, just because Fodor's, Frommer's, Yahoo Travel, etc. would never be able to justify paying someone to research and write coverage of comparable depth. The beancounters would demand to know why they were spending money on a destination that few English-speaking travelers visit (and if the beancounters didn't ask, the editor-in-chief probably would).

Similarly, I have entire multi-page articles on how to get from Airport X into the city by train, bus, shuttle, etc. I can justify writing the articles because I have no out-of-pocket expenses (except buying train and bus tickets to or from the airport). A corporate-owned site like Yahoo Travel would have to pay someone to conduct research, take photos, and write the article, and other employees would need to edit, approve, and maintain the content.

Fortunately, the search engines are smart enough to understand that linking to pages on things they don't cover in depth is a great way to serve users and to keep users coming back. That's why, for example, the Yahoo directory and Yahoo search link to my site even though Yahoo Travel covers many of the same high-profile topics that I do. And on my own site, I enhance the value of my own content by linking to other resources. Why? Because that's how the Web is supposed to work, and information sites that try to keep users to themselves are shortchanging readers and themselves.

The people who run search engines aren't stupid. They aren't leeches, either, because leeches just suck blood--they don't transfuse blood into millions of supposed "victims" the way the search engines do.

Powdork




msg:251644
 5:11 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

The people who run search engines aren't stupid. They aren't leeches, either, because leeches just suck blood--they don't transfuse blood into millions of supposed "victims" the way the search engines do.
I can agree with that at this point in time. I'm still scared, though. Suppose Yahoo would use a less obvious title to their travel resulsts so it just looked like a number one position. Suppose Google does too. The travel space would be very different indeed if the best we could hope for on any travel term was number two.
europeforvisitors




msg:251645
 7:02 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Suppose Yahoo would use a less obvious title to their travel resulsts so it just looked like a number one position. Suppose Google does too. The travel space would be very different indeed if the best we could hope for on any travel term was number two.

Maybe, maybe not. You can get a lot of traffic with a #2 position, and in any case, Yahoo Travel or Google wouldn't be able to serve up useful content of its own for most "long-tail" search terms. For many terms, it would need to serve up empty or nearly-empty directory pages (like the ones we often see on template-based travel and tech sites), and users would soon learn to avoid a Yahoo Travel or Google Travel page about Pig's Knuckle, Arkansas or Bierburg am Schlamm, Germany.

Powdork




msg:251646
 7:27 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe, maybe not. You can get a lot of traffic with a #2 position, and in any case, Yahoo Travel or Google wouldn't be able to serve up useful content of its own for most "long-tail" search terms.
We'll see. I can't imagine Yahoo is just going to stop. They can't, as a public company, they must try to expand their profits in some fashion and the longer tail is at this point still low hanging fruit for them (meaning they are still only operating around the base of the tail).
However, i do agree that the more commercial they become, the less popular they will become regardless of how well they do it.

Powdork




msg:251647
 10:01 pm on Jan 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

In regards to useit, those are Yahoo ads with gigablast results under them. When I said the results were awful before it was because I didn't realise the first five 'results' were Yahoo's ppc ads. The gigablast results following them are actually ok, though not great.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:251648
 2:41 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

As a webmaster community we could potentially fight this back, and quite easy. I am sure there's effort out there to create an Open Source search engine. All they have to do is ensure they will not use advertising model (they could make money leasing search algorythm, donations, research grants, etc.). All we as professionals have to do is start linking to that engine from our sites - and boom, just like FireFox it will take 10% of the web.

This is the answer! They could also cover their costs by charging commercial companies for inclusion.

Google is already much too big and much too greedy. I sometime get the impression that they are preparing for a massive crash at some time in the future and that they want to maximise profits as much as possible before it happens. It is almost inevitable that the mantra will eventually change from, "Don't be Evil" to "Google is Evil". That's what happens with most the huge multinationals whose only object is to generate ever increasing profits.

The explosion of Google Adsense in the last two or three years (I am a publisher BTW) is singly responsible for the rapidly deteriorating quality of the Internet. Adsense provided the scrapers and other unsavoury sites with the vehicle they needed. Google could get rid of these scrapers overnight but they daren't because of the effect it would have on their profits.

They have been very clever so far at generating positive publicity with their well timed PR stunts like Google Earth and the other freebies that they offer to an unsuspecting public. But the public are becoming more Internet savvy and they won't fall for it forever.

A good manually edited, open source or non profit SE whose only objective was to produce the best search results without carrying advertising could gain popularity very quickly. The good vibes it would generate would ensure that it gained positive publicity that would ensure it's continued success.

Let's face it, Internet ethics are downright shameful and the reason for this is almost entirely down to the money that can be be made from advertising. Take that out of the equation and the problem is well on the way to being solved.

Staffa




msg:251649
 3:55 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

As a webmaster community we could potentially fight this back, and quite easy. I am sure there's effort out there to create an Open Source search engine. All they have to do is ensure they will not use advertising model (they could make money leasing search algorythm, donations, research grants, etc.). All we as professionals have to do is start linking to that engine from our sites - and boom, just like FireFox it will take 10% of the web.

This is the answer! They could also cover their costs by charging commercial companies for inclusion.

To succeed you don't even have to push it that far. There are enough currently good to decent SEs out there who for the moment don't stand a great chance to succeed.

To turn the tide it would be enough to block the big ones in robots.txt and allow in those waiting in the wings.

People using the big ones would soon turn to others if nothing decent could be found on the big ones anymore.

europeforvisitors




msg:251650
 4:22 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

A good manually edited, open source or non profit SE whose only objective was to produce the best search results without carrying advertising could gain popularity very quickly.

A manually-edited search engine, as opposed to a manually edited directory?

If DMOZ can't keep up with site submissions, how on earth would a manually-edited search engine keep up with page submissions?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:251651
 4:51 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

To turn the tide it would be enough to block the big ones in robots.txt and allow in those waiting in the wings.

I am afreiad that this is just not practical. The fact remains that for many of us the big ones currently generate most of the income. Who would be willing to forego earnings on a point of principle?

If DMOZ can't keep up with site submissions, how on earth would a manually-edited search engine keep up with page submissions?

DMOZ is not a yardstick. Whenever this subject is raised I hear these defeatist, negative attitudes.

Remember that Google started as a college project!

ronin




msg:251652
 5:46 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

If DMOZ can't keep up with site submissions...

Unless I'm mistaken, no-one works at dmoz from 9:00 to 18:00, five days a week.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:251653
 6:02 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Exactly.

thrasher141




msg:251654
 6:14 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with BDUU that it's improbable that a significant number of people will start blocking the big guys in their robots.txt to allow smaller engines in.

I would also add that even if there were no paid listings on G or other big ones, there would still be a quality problem. SEOers undoubtedly focus their efforts on the biggest engine(s). This degrades the quality of the organic results, because the top 10 are no longer "organic", but whoever has played the game best. I predict that unless G keeps releasing free tools like G Earth, G Maps, Gmail, users will switch to another engine that provides better results. I remember first using Yahoo back in the day, then Altavista (because for whatever reason I had the impression that it had the best results for a while), then maybe one or two others before Google came out. I have no problem switching to whatever engine provides the best results...unless there are other features provided that keep me on Google (which there are). I think G has been very clever, but eventually their results could get so SEO'ed that people will switch. Then the cycle begins again.

Any thoughts?

aleksl




msg:251655
 7:28 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah, thoughts..

First off, any "free service" is a looser financially. With Google, since it has to be "better than another guy", it must be a big money looser because it is a teaser to attract people. So Google is bleeding money on these "free services". But not to worry, they have plenty.

Second, it is unlikely anyone will start blocking big SEs unless there's a compelling reason. But linking back out to a smaller guy is possible.

If there's a potential of shifting market from (the % are imaginary) "75%Google - 15%Yahoo - 5%MSN - 5%Rest" to say "45%Google - 25%Yahoo - 15%MSN - 10%OtherGuy - 5%Rest", it would be a totally different ballgame. And the other advantage - there's no one single SE to target with spam anymore.

All needs to happen is this:
1. Microsoft improves its SE and releases new OS with embedded Search (will double its searches, and possibly tripple, which should give them 15%).
2. Yahoo improves results (and from what I gather there's a lot of brewing going on there)
3. and the most important one - an Open Source or Non-profit SE comes along to take 10% of the market (similar to how FireFox did it).

Hey, am I dreaming? :)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:251656
 9:24 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I hope not. Google's virtual dictatorship is not healthy and their continued refusal to intervene manually is gradually suffocating the 'net.

europeforvisitors




msg:251657
 11:45 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Unless I'm mistaken, no-one works at dmoz from 9:00 to 18:00, five days a week.

Well, neither would people working on an "open source, not-for-profit" search engine, unless they were being funded by a large donor.

I certainly can't imagine them being able to keep up with a flood of submitted pages (not just sites), or--even more important--quality pages that haven't been submitted, which can be just as valuable. Nor can I imagine those editorial drones doing a good job of it if they were working 9 to 6, five days a week.

Then there's the risk of editorial corruption or favoritism, which doesn't need explanation.

Event_King




msg:251658
 9:06 am on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting. We don't know where for certain where this SE 'war' will end - and..... it is a war.

The main 3 players Google, Yahoo and MSN can, for the moment eat each other alive, it doesn't bother me as it's not hurting me or the other genuine businesses.

Hurting,mmmmmmm can be in a number of ways eg: not enough traffic, lack of conversions, no content, can't get started for whatever reason etc, the list goes on - but the engines can't be held responsible for all of that - and certainly not conversions as that's a website owner's job to handle that side of things.

One of the main 3 will buy the other 2 out - at some stage, but before that, a great deal of mid-range engines, directories, ISP's and portals will have their own battle, and I guess the 'CATS' will lie in wait maybe, ready to pounce, buy up and as said earlier - 'own' before the big fight begins. In other words such a long way to go yet, before the web is 'sorted' properly. In the meantime, all the naff sales and personal sites will die, either naturally, get pushed out or just simply fail for whatever reason
.

This is going to be good!

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:251659
 10:59 am on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Unless I'm mistaken, no-one works at dmoz from 9:00 to 18:00, five days a week.

Well, neither would people working on an "open source, not-for-profit" search engine, unless they were being funded by a large donor.

More defeatism?

There would clearly be no need to be funded by a large donor if a suitable charge was made for inclusion. This would finance it no problem. Lets say (in a generous estimate) that it would take a trained person about ten minutes to process each site application. Charge the applicants $100 and each employeee could haul in $600 per hour. Don't you think that that this would adequately cover expenses? Not for profit sites could be allowed to apply for nothing and there would still be more than enough to cover expenses.

We would all be rushing to pay this charge to get into an ethical, non-profit search engine with NO ads, NO spam, NO scrapers and NO sleaze. Think about it ... we are talking about a search engine with only quality results. Parents are waiting for this. Businesses are waiting for this. The world is waiting for this!

Event_King




msg:251660
 11:52 am on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hasn't the vortal thing (including 'quality' type site) been done already by Looksmart? Anyway, Looksmart, Lycos, Google are the least of your worries as Reed Business is a Mega Mega player and with their 30 odd verticals plus 2 major companies such as Totaljobs and Caterer.com series of engines - will blast any competition out of the water.

I see 'quality' sites as a tough nut to crack, mainly down to the costs issue involved. You can't maintain a quality anything without some form of profit generation. What about development needs of this site? You will need to stay one step ahead of the nearest rival, if not well infront of them.

Can't do that without cashflow, and if this new form of site is that hot it'll need oodles of staff to handle the customer flow, enquiries, maintenance, admin, payment processing etc etc. In other words the bigger a company gets, the more staff it takes to maintain it.

This 85 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 85 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Marketing and Biz Dev / General Search Engine Marketing Issues
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved