Sunday, June 24, 2007

Differentiating the search market

James Fallows writes about a study showing that the first-page results of leading search engines produce widely varying results:
That is, rather than Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live, Alta Vista, Ask, etc providing overlapping views of the central data repository that is the World Wide Web, each returns a particular sampling of that data, which can differ to a startling degree from the other samples.

This seems to make sense. If Google opens a grocery store in Durango, I could profitably open a store in Alamosa by replicating Google's Durango store because geography obviously matters to customers of bricks-and-matter retailers, like Alamosans who'd prefer not to trek to Durango. A strict me-too strategy on the internet, however, is mostly senseless. Wouldn't Ask, Yahoo and other competitors fail in the search competition if they didn't significantly differentiate their product from Google's?

6 comments:

Ben said...

I used to spend a long time trolling through each search engine one by one, looking for different websites about islands for sale. And I would occasionally find gems that were only listed on one search engine or another. In any field of listings with high depth, where each listing could potentially be different, it's important to find listings deep in the field--these are often the most interesting. Furthermore, the results most frequently returned for some search categories, like real estate, are just plain boring: they're mishmosh sites with everything under the sun, and no good bargains.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Well, you can differentiate in ways other than results, like A9 did. But if your game is to survive in Google's shadow rather than take it on in a big way, then mere differentiation becomes more useful, I guess.

Target differentiates from Wal-Mart with its brand. Quizno's differentiates from Subway with its content. Davidarcher.blogspot.com differentiates from jamesfallows.atlantic.com with its business model.

Michael said...

Yeah, that'd be jamesfallows.theatlantic.com. Dang. Now back to typing your newspaper...

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