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Google: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don't

     
12:35 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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In this Red Nova Article [rednova.com], the fab two, talk about some of the pros/cons to running the biz over the last year.

Recent research showed Google had the third-largest number of visitors, below Yahoo! and Microsoft's MSN, and above AOL. But it lags woefully in terms of the time people spend at these sites. Mr Kessler says AOL leads the way, with users clocking up an average of six hours a month. Yahoo! is second with three hours, followed by MSN with just shy of two. But Google users average only 40 minutes.

So Google is trying to transform its search engine into a portal, complete with add-on services such as Froogle, Gmail and online maps. They won't provide stronger revenues in themselves, but they should provide a better platform for advertisers.

1:33 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As a search engine, don't you want people to find what they're looking for quickly? Isn't a lower number better in this matrix?

As for a portal site, google just started into this front, and I'd expect to see their market share grow exponentially over the next year. Their www.google.com/ig interface makes for an excellent(and quick loading) default browser page.

Yahoo and AOL have long since been pushing other features on their homepage, it makes sense that their users spend more time on their pages.

Chip-

2:11 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Recent research showed Google had the third-largest number of visitors...
Is this in the US or worldwide?

My stats have always shown the contry to this, Google being by far the largest referrer of traffic, all things being equal.

2:15 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I guess visitors are doing things other than searching at Yahoo & Co?
2:22 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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still, a lot of people trust google. for instance, my lecturer taught me to use google for any problems
4:06 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think the Adsense network makes the time people spend on actual Google properties largely irrelevent.
4:53 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Once again, the press fails to compare apples to apples. AOL, Yahoo & MSN have much higher time spent online per user due to things like games and chat (though Google may be entering the chat world).

Using the same data (Nielson), but breaking it down you get:
Google Search: 24 minutes
Yahoo Search: 13 minutes
MSN Search: 7.5 minutes
AOL Search: 28 minutes

4:55 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Deja vu! There was the same kind of discussion back in 1999 about Altavista vs. Yahoo. The time visitors spent on Altavista was too low to attract advertisers, analysts said. They said, Altavista has to increase its stickyness. We all know what happened to Altavista then ...
5:45 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ridiculous. Google doesn't need to be sticky! Kudos to G for all their new toys, but I like my search the way I like my banking. Quick, automated, precise; get in get done and get out.

I hope advertisers aren't looking for "seconds spent on the page" as a criteria for quality of ad space, it's not like they're buying broadcast time during the Superbowl. It's just not like that...

6:04 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Earnings are more important than traffic. (It's easy to pump up traffic numbers and stickiness with forums and chat, but the additional traffic and time on site don't necessarily translate into significant revenue.)
7:15 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> Earnings are more important than traffic.

depends, but long term you need both. There's a maximum amount of $$ you can squeeze out of one person. Once that amount is reached, you need new eyeballs

8:57 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I use Hotmail and Yahoo, for mail! That's why I stay on their site longer than I do on Google.
Stats are easily confused, Google also loads a lot faster for me than any of the three other sites mentioned, am I being timed from full load or from arrival, go figure.
I wouldn't give too much importance to these figures, but then I'm not a corporate mogul (yet).
9:21 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Personally, I think chasing portal users at Yahoo! and MSN is a questionable strategy. People use Google now mainly because it's so fast and useful -- they want to find what they need and move on. This is what makes their current ad model work so well -- while they don't have nearly the page views of the portals, I bet their revenue per page is substantially higher, because a lot of people leave via an ad.

Moreover ... if they continue this march towards becoming a portal, I think they just open the door for someone else with a better, faster, simpler search to "out-Google" them in the future. Because there are still plenty of us who just want search, not a lot of anything else.

10:11 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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depends, but long term you need both. There's a maximum amount of $$ you can squeeze out of one person. Once that amount is reached, you need new eyeballs

Exactly. That's why "stickiness" can be overrated, especially if it's the result of forums and chats.

12:23 am on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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People always seem to forget that the public decide which search engine to use depending on the results they get and the further google goes along the business route and the more successful it becomes, the more likely someone else is going to come along and do a google on them. I would always be looking over my shoulder.

I know the climate is different now but in the past thats always what has happened and all the time the public like the idea of a clean white page with a box in the middle which helps them find what they are looking for, there is the potential for a coup no matter who has what financial power.

1:22 am on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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But the company still has a way to go in winning over the doubters. Mr Kessler's concerns are such that he has cut his recommendation from a 'buy' to a 'hold'. 'You would be hard pressed not to accept Google is good at what it does. But this is a company that seems to be based on lofty and broad aspirations. It has challenges in driving growth, revenue and profits outside its core business.'

Uh - it doesn't have to.

The article should be entitiled: "Analysts can't do math"

Google ranks third largest in visitors - and still pulls in MORE MONEY.

What is the problem?

Yahoo is competition - MSN isn't even close. So Google makes more money with less visitors - and that is a reason to cut your recommendation?

As pointed out by others - visitors are not searchers.

There is an article on the front page of:

[alexa.com...]

that explains in more detail what several on here have said.

'They reserve the right to screen your emails, pull out key words and learn things about you, and I don't have Gmail for that very reason,' says Mr Maine. 'People will be wary of that kind of thing. It's a bit Big Brother " they see everything you are doing.'

Another analyst that shouldn't have a job. All search engines companies see everything you do. The fact that you can't remember this unless you see an ad from Google - means you shouldn't be "senior analyst at IT consultant Ovum."

4:44 am on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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They ought to come up with a metric like revenue per user minute or page view and compare the engines.

With the addition of the 3rd sponsored link and groth in content, it would be surprising if Google doesn't beat estimates again this time around.

8:41 am on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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An Overture sales person looking to advertise on my site asked me all these questions and one of them was “what do you do to make your site sticky” I said absolutely nothing as I cant force users to stay by providing silly games etc... users get to the imformation and leave. Overture rejected that site. What I don’t understand is that a sticky feature like a forum has a much lower Click ratio than non-sticky content! Are media type people stupid or am I missing the point?
1:54 pm on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Do the math. If you have Adsense showing on X amount of pages, and you expand your operation to #*$!xxxx amount of pages, what percentage of increase do you post to your stockholders?

Ok...stumped? Let me break it down for you.

If Google had as many in-house pages as Yahoo had, how many MORE ads could they show, in house, without splitting any commission with another webmaster, and how much more would they earn?

You have advertising
You have email
You have chat
You have homepages - only blogs
You have search
You have maps
You have a directory
You have news
You have groups

What is missing? A full blown community of dedicated users. How can you get that? You go isp. You create a main page that ties it all together. You add business hosting. You add a shopping district (not froogle) You add games. You add auctions. You go head to head with the competitor for the young market (yahoo) and the business market (msn) and you do that with what? Palm and notebook. How do palm and notebook primarily surf the web? Wireless. You get them on their connect, you have a lot of range for profits.

Step by step, they have been putting their ducks in a row. They had one major plan, and have been working towards it. It only surprises those with tunnel vision, who never see the big picture. This writing has been on the wall for a very long time. The day of google's main page being just a search box, is soon to come to an end. Search is a very narrow field of operation, for two guys with a such wide range of talent. Only a fool would limit their operation to one aspect of the interet. How many times have you read that on this board? How many times have you seen the phrase, "don't put all your eggs in one basket"?

We are constantly preaching diversity to ensure longevity in this ever changing eworld, yet when Google does it, they are verbally attacked. Google is a forward thinking company with excellent R&D. The sky is the limit, and that is exactly where this is all going.

3:05 pm on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> "Google ranks third largest in visitors - and still pulls in MORE MONEY. What is the problem?"

That doesn't mean much. MSFT makes a month more tham G makes a year, yet their stock hasn't moved in ages. Y! & MSN will crank up their own Adsense for webmasters and that will hurt a bit. Even a 10% share is a lot.

Not to mention that their (Y & MSN) search results will improve and the SERP quality gap will close. Yahoo also has another 100 other sources of revenues so they're in a much better shape. Google is not at $300 a share because they make more than Yahoo, it's because investors expect /got 50% or so growth--that can't happen forever with search alone. Personally I woud rather own Yahoo right now.

And yes, my site is doing great on Google, so no bias, just an honest opinion ;)

5:09 pm on Aug 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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MsHuggys - beautiful post.
1:57 am on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Search is a very narrow field of operation, for two guys with a such wide range of talent. Only a fool would limit their operation to one aspect of the interet.

They haven't done that for quite some time. (AdSense being a case in point.)

3:44 am on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>That doesn't mean much. MSFT makes a month more tham G makes a year, yet their stock hasn't moved in ages.

MSN is a small part of microsoft - not even 2.5%. If is basically insignificant.

The stock reports pulls them out seperately.

The stock not moving has nothing to do with MSN. MSN could die tomorrow and it wouldn't make much difference to microsoft.

>Yahoo also has another 100 other sources of revenues
I have nothing against Yahoo. I think their company is doing well and will continue to do so.

However - to say they have 100 other sources of revenue is a bit over the top IMHO. People go to yahoo to find things - just like google. If yahoo makes money off of their travel or personals business - google can make similar money off their advertisers.

I think yahoo's moving into the field of contextual advertising is great. Google has had the lion's share of this business for some time - and early reports have shown good promise for Yahoo. Competition in this field can only be good.

Yahoo needs to do things to expand their revenue (well they don't NEED to), but just having 100 different properties (or whatever the number is) - isn't enough - as that is just canabalizing sales their advertisers could have made. Doing things such as YPN can lead to real expansion for them for the long term.

Yahoo and Google have a good future ahead of them.

MSN is only in there, because they are the default page on people's browsers. They have made some good research in the field - and certainly have the money to put some of it in place.

I just don't think that many people are using MSN on purpose. I would be shocked if Bill Gates actually uses it for his search engine. That is no way for a company to have a long term strategy. They are getting better though - and might be able to catch up (here is a hint - crawl and index more pages).

Google has long been the best search engine on the net, but hasn't had the name recognition that Yahoo did. Now that they have the name recognition - Yahoo is actually a good search engine. Kind of funny I supppose.

5:23 am on Aug 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm another person who absolutely hates "sticky" sites. The day that Google start putting up speed bumps to prevent people from finding what they want too quickly will be the day the next Google is born.
10:53 pm on Sept 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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From google "10 things" page...

"Google may be the only company in the world whose stated goal is to have users leave its website as quickly as possible."

6:02 am on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Another analyst that shouldn't have a job. All search engines companies see everything you do. The fact that you can't remember this unless you see an ad from Google - means you shouldn't be "senior analyst at IT consultant Ovum."

There's a huge difference between monitoring my searches and monitoring my e-mail. Monitoring e-mail is extremely big brotherish.

 

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