diberry - 3:33 pm on Jun 19, 2013 (gmt 0)
Google's dominance is really unfortunate, I think. I do believe it's had regrettable effects on online business - not just by hurting small/smallish businesses, but by generating a whole universe of websites that exist only because Google's there to make money off of (as a searcher, I hate these sites).
But it is what it is, and all we can do is try to work around it. I'm not in B2B, but I am seeing a shift in informational sites - people want to know who's doing that product review or claiming their tutorial is really the best method for painting widgets. It's not the cult of personality that we saw when blogs became a profitable niche of their own - it's, why should I believe you? Who are you, what do you know? Why should I trust you?
When the economy's doing well, many people can afford to be as gullible and ridiculous as they want to be. When it gets bad, (a) people can't afford to get taken for a ride and (b) there are more people trying to take them for more expensive rides. People are starting to doubt that search results can tell them who they should do business with or listen to (duh, for those of us who already understood what search does). They're also starting to doubt that "customer reviews" can be trusted.
This is a new experience for the web - after almost unlimited boom for nearly 20 years, finally people are looking at it skeptically. Unfortunately this may be too little too late for some of you (I hope not, and wish you all well), but it's a long overdue change that could have some permanent effects.