Opinion of Whitelines.net Pay Per Click advertising by Tribal Internet Marketing

Opinion of Whitelines.net

The web search market resets its properties and starts from scratch!

It is not that long ago that the first thing in my mind was to visit a travel agent or a book store when I required some information about a certain country. Often I had to wait until the next day because such questions always seem to pop up in the evening or the weekend. Nowadays my brains tell me to "use a search engine" when similar questions come up. An interesting change of attitude. Do other internet users also think like that?
A few months ago a friend asked me if I happened to know any golfcourses in Turkey. Of course my immediate reply was to use Google and simply type "golfcourses Turkey" in the search box. She looked at me as if I had just turned into a little green fellow. "Who the hell is Goegel?" was all she could say.

Sure, the term search engine is known by a growing group of people, but the usefulness of search engines is still not shining through as often as we web-veterans might think. And therefore the market of web search is a market that is still to be discovered by millions of people. People that will get used to the idea that they can use search engines to find information.
On the supplier side we are dealing with search services that are still residing in their childhood. And a lot is going on in the Kindergarten.

From scratch

Commercial web search is not that old. In 1995 Excite, according to the history books one of the first search engines, appeared on the web. Altavista was born a few months later, in December that year. Infoseek, Lycos and Webcrawler followed. The only thing these websites offered was a pure search and find service. They listed thousands of websites and helped the early internet adapters to find their way. Now, six years later Excite is almost bankrupt and Altavista is cutting down personnel - and costs - in their struggle to regain their once so great position.

What happened? The early search services understood what web search was about. They offered plain functionality and the visitors apparently liked it. How else could the the first generation search engines evolve to become the most popular sites on the web? But at a certain moment somebody decided to turn these fine services into jungle-portals with a declining search box surrounded by numerous links, advertisements, banners and - most of times - useless information. The goal of this move was to lock-in their visitors and earn money by clickthroughs. Something like "you have to stay, but if you click through to another site - and leave us - we want to get paid for it". A few years of success followed but at the end of the day their visitors got frustrated, left and stayed away. People realized that simply clicking through to all sorts of sites - with information they were not looking for - was a waste of time. New gadgets are nice for a while, but at the time you start wondering why they tend to end up in the garbage bucket.

Some internet-gurus argue that the web offers over hundred times more pages of information that all the major search engines combined have listed. So the basic question at the end of the first generation of web search was "How the hell can noisy and overwhelming portals - once search engines - help and keep helping the ever growing community of websurfers to find their way?"

Reset the properties, time for the second generation

The answer to this question is the sole and rational reason why services like Google are alive and surviving in times where most competitors hardly can. The demanding market needs simplicity because it is still not used to selecting relevant information from an overwhelming source no one could have dreamed of ten years ago.

Beyond the generation of data and link spitting portals simplicity turned out to be the key to success. Just like it was in the early days. The people at Google understood that again and brought the most important service to find your way through the web back to its basics. They once again created a search service that helps millions of people to find information in the most fundamental way.

In a market segment with a lot of demand new parties enter. Lookle, Flipper, Teoma and Wisenut were examples of companies entering the "simplicity search" demanding internet market that Google redefined. Even Altavista finally jumped back to start on november 12th, 2002! The new services build huge indexes and offer fast results powered by sophisticated technologies and flavored algorithms. And the blowing key to success is a Google-like HMTL interface that could be produced within one man-day of work by an average web designer. On the short term they will definitely succeed, because the press-guys like Google related stories and search freaks love to test and discuss their response times, technology and concepts. For now Google seems to make money with the "simplicity search" concept, and the followers still have to show that trick. The first step towards that goal has been taken.

With these developments the web search market seems to reset the properties and start from scratch. A new world of opportunities is recreated just by a simple substitution of words. Between www. and .com we type Google instead of Altavista, Wisenut instead of Excite and replace Infoseek with Teoma.

Anything changed?

Yes and No. Yes because the simple search engines with new technologies help the visitors to find their results smarter, quicker and more efficient. More international and local search engines with different flavours help consumers to focus the search process.
On the other hand the index capacities of search engines haven't grown fast enough to keep up with the exponential growing number of web-pages. The thousands of search engines on the planet are still not able to index even 1% of the information available. The only difference is that you will probably find more of the same. More offerings to select from. But is that a real relief? Selecting a golf course in Turkey is easier from list of two than from a list of thousands.

Searching is and remains to be the most used service on the web, but there is still a lot to do. A much heard complaint is the irrelevant (or non-matching) information that is produced once a search is invoked. It is still not easy to find the information you are looking for if a search engine produces numerous pages of output.

If you for example use Google to find "golfcourses in Turkey" you will be amazed to find this opinion page in the first 5 results. Ok, this page contains the words you were looking for, but the content is entirely useless for golfers. Try Alltheweb and you get similar results. These simple examples show that high-end search engines are still not able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant webpages. Therefore we believe that additional algorithms and services like the one offered by Vivisimo are highly required to work on a more friendly and better accessible medium.


At Whitelines.net we list - and study the evolution of - the international and local search engines on this planet. We help people to search better and to submit their own pages of information better to these search engines.

In the last few months we saw a growing number of local search services following the Google way. To my opinion this is an understandable and healthy development. Apparently "simplicity search" is becoming a global issue. Something that is good to know for those that just learned to think "use a search engine" when they want to find a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

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