Search Industry Flashback: 2001

Filed in Miscellaneous by Matt McGee on February 26, 2007 0 Comments

I wish I could remember what I was searching for Sunday afternoon when I found this blast from the past in the SERPs:

The End for Search Engines?

It’s an article published just over six years ago on Search Engine Watch, and Danny S. wrote it at a time when Go.com was shutting down and the rest of the industry was in a state of flux. How different were things back then? Consider this:

  1. It’s a 2,500-word article covering the entire industry as it existed then, and it doesn’t mention Google until seven paragraphs from the end.
  2. Look at the search sites Danny mentions in the first half of the article: Go.com, Open Text, Magellan, Excite, WebCrawler, Point, Lycos, AltaVista, LookSmart, and NBCi. Not a single one of them is a player that matters today.
  3. Danny warns that search engines may lose their lifeline unless they continue to adopt “paid listings, paid submission and paid inclusion programs.” Today, paid advertising on a search engine is a regular part of the landscape.
  4. How about this: “LookSmart, which has a choke-hold on the paid submission and paid inclusion model….” Whoa.

The overwhelming response to this is to shake your head in amazement at how much has changed in just six years. The second response is to admire how Danny had the industry nailed back then (and still does), especially when he ends the article by outlining how search engines would have to survive: “Yes, many users have tolerated the poor search some portals have provided. But, the long term strategy for survival should be to provide a great search product along with complementary ways to earn money off that product.” Sounds like exactly what’s happened to me.

Third response? I wonder what it’ll all look like six years from now….

[tags]search engines, search industry, danny sullivan, 2001[/tags]

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