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Brands - it's now getting silly

 6:50 am on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm now seeing repeated examples of major websites that are market leaders for their products, with pages crammed with information, outranked by 'bigger brands' who actually act as affiliates for that same market leader, and who have just a single page of 200-ish word plain vanilla information about the product.

I am finding it more and more difficult, if not virtually impossible, to find information about many products I am interested in because content sites have disappeared and the 'big brands' have taken over, even in small specialist niches.

I well remember the small shops being pushed out of the crowded High Street by the big chains, in the same way. Many of those High Streets here in the UK are now full of shuttered up stores as the shoppers have gone elsewhere, bored by the sameness of it all and the big chains are going broke with monotonous regularity. Is Google taking the Internet down the same path?



 5:56 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

One thing that got sort of overlooked in this thread is something someone said awhile back.

That was...

The advantage small business owners have over big brands is their ability to make decisions faster.

That is true. Actually, I'd say on the internet that is their ONLY advantage.

For example... how many big corporate sites have added the Google + button yet? I'd say almost none.

I added mine on day one.

To me this is the ONLY advantage I have over big brands. I have to try and stay on the cutting edge of the web. I can't sit around and be content that I'm getting good traffic from Google search, or Facebook, or whatever. I always have to be looking for the NEXT thing and be ready to jump on it immediately because as a small business owner I know that somewhere behind me the big brands are lurking, and whenever they finally wake up and jump on it too, I will be pushed out.

That is what has been happening with Google for awhile.

Someone also mentioned in this thread that people started complaining about big brands being pushed to the top with Florida...

Well they're right. That was the START of what is happening now, this is the next step and it's going to continue.

As a small business owner you have to look for the next thing. It's not a fair competition. Big brands will always be there to push you out, and to survive you have to be ahead of them, ready to move on to the next thing when they take your current thing away from you. It's awful, I don't like it, it's anti-competition and frankly un-American. But that's the reality we live in. It has been that way for at least a decade.

In some cases, there's just no way to get out ahead of the big brands.

One example I look at is podcasts. Look at a list of the most popular podcasts. All of the top 25 - 50 are big brands. The most popular, non-big brand podcast in the world doesn't even enter into the discussion. Podcasts have been completely taken over by big brands. Entirely. No one else has a chance and frankly, I think unless you're backed by a big brand, you'd be a fool to invest money in a podcast right now.


 9:18 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think there's too much emotion and not enough reality being offered. I know "mom and pop" stores were very emotional when "big box" stores moved in... but that reality of "where the public goes" is key. Look at any major urban area and see how business dynamics operate. It is delusional to not think the same would happen to the internet. It is also delusional to think we'd have several centuries of small shops making bucks since the "electronic age" moves SO MUCH FASTER. After all, the commercialization of the internet is just barely 20 years old... yet we've gone from discovering the new world (some say 1492) to present in just 20 years. Look at your urban areas for were the public goes for goods and services TODAY as an explanation for where Panda and the web in general is headed. bakedjake's restaurant analogy is spot on. If one is to survive these days then the small shop must provide an experience BETTER than the big box AND must continue to grow and expand until they, TOO, become a big box... and that's a tough row to hoe.

I've offered the Wild West analogy before, won't do it again, but will say that the internet will, sooner rather than later, become two levels: Mainstream and Vanity, and there's a possible third: Personal (which is a form of Vanity... just lacks commercial aspects). There will ALWAYS be a Government presence.

In short, there's no surprise Brands are rising to the top... nor any surprise it took them eight years to figure out how to do it... once began dividing budget by moving away from TV, RADIO, NEWSPAPERS. With those budgets (and what they can hire) the big box brands will clean clocks and kick a$$. That's not PANDA, that's BUSINESS. Yet, mom and pops, the restaurant, the early Wild West can still do business... but those will become more localized.


 11:16 pm on Jul 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

superclown2, don't be silly. Seriously. Google cannot do them on a one to one basis even they wanted to rig the system.

It's possible and likely (IMO) that Google picked the advertising /brand signals and gave them credit.

I'm not saying this is a manual 'rigging' of the results. What I'm suggesting is that it's possible - just possible - that having used adsense in the past could count in favour of a site, as one of the myriad factors in the algo. It would make sense, throwaway spam domains aren't promoted with real money like that.


 12:46 am on Jul 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with what's been said regarding this is generally how the business world works. I'm only going to say that this is where the game gets VERY interesting. If you control an algo, I'm suggesting that would be like say, controlling the value of the dollar? I get the whole this is how the world works, however, I would and will continue to argue that they pull the strings of the economy. When other arms of the company can cash in on an algo tweak, I would strongly suggest somebody will take notice. Think about it. If I own the algo and 80% of the market and you have this great ad business for online businesses, we get together, back room deal. I'll squeeze off the organic traffic, you cash in with a windfall of people needing the ads to get traffic to their site. One problem. Google owns both entities. I'm still a bit baffled that people continue to overlook how bad that really looks. It's not that bad yet, and if Bing takes more share, then it's less visible. To me, when Google relies on trust, it might be a hard sell to people like us who depend on the organic traffic.

So yes, big brands are the way of the world. I agree. I just don't agree with how these big brands, with a turn of the knob at Google suddenly see a windfall of organic traffic which at one time I enjoyed.


 8:08 pm on Jul 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>If you control an algo, I'm suggesting that would be like say, controlling the value of the dollar?

It's true. You do in a sense control which businesses live and which die.

This isn't true outside the internet. Things like the location of your business, friendly service when people go in to your store, etc determine whether people walk into your store.

On the internet most of it is determined by whether Google people sends customers there or not, and that's pretty much it.

In the end though, on the internet it's turning out to work mostly the same as in the real world. In the real world a small business comes on the scene and creates a niche. Then big business comes in, takes over the niche, and pushes them out.

It's an old story.


 9:12 pm on Jul 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

This isn't true outside the internet. Things like the location of your business, friendly service when people go in to your store, etc determine whether people walk into your store.

On the internet most of it is determined by whether Google people sends customers there or not, and that's pretty much it.
100% true. But it's only going to get worse, Google needs to make about $9 Billion MORE next year or the stock crashes hurting shareholders, including the G engineers. It's time for the government /s to intervene and separate search from Google other properties given the monopolist share they have and how they are acting. In EU apparently it's even worst, since Google holds as much as 95% market share. They need the MSFT treatment. Many will get burned meanwhile but I doubt they will let Google go this way.

 9:53 pm on Jul 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe governments will do something, maybe not. In the meantime we all need to work on finding ways to diversify.

Google controls most of the traffic on the internet but not all of it, and thanks to things like Facebook and Twitter that's changing.

Of course even there big brands are now starting to move in. They've caught on to how effective those tools are and they've started pouring HUGE amounts of money into Twitter and Facebook to take attention away from the small social brands which used to dominate there and put it on them. Enough money and they'll be able to do that. But it's still a couple of years off there, which means now is the time for us.


 9:46 pm on Jul 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Six or seven years ago I made most of my money from Yahoo! and MSN (as was) and very little indeed from Google. Last year my earnings from the first two were so small as to be below the radar but now they are producing a good third of my earnings and growing. Granted much of this is down to the fact that earnings from G have fallen but in real terms I have picked up a lot from Bing in particular; after all a top spot there is still worth more than no.15 or 20 on Google. So, personally, I will just keep flogging on. The Google ride was very nice as long as it lasted but I was making money online before G existed and I may well be still doing so when they are just a memory.

Frankly I do not believe that if Google only started up today that they would be anywhere near the leaders, let alone top dogs. Their obsession with 'brands' has made the SERPs anodyne, lifeless, and far more difficult to use for serious searching IMO, at least in the UK, and in the sometimes complex areas that I'm interested in. Frankly I'm fed up of ploughing through long lists of big companies all with little apparent expertise in the products they are flogging as affiliates for sites they sit well above, and hopefully the great British public will wake up to the fact that this emperor has thrown away his clothes. If all it takes to rank is size, there will be thousands of wannabees starting up soon who can produce more interesting results than these.

Sure, Google have invested billions in infrastructure, but are search results really that much quicker than they were before the IPO? Empires come and empires go; usually because the guys at the top forget what it was that made them into emperors in the first place.

Must get over to Bing now, I have some serious research to do tonight.

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