The Internet Search Market Still Needs More Productive Tools, but What Will Customers Pay for Better Search Results?

The market for better methods of searching the internet is still underserved. Google has the commanding share of today’s market for methods of searching the internet for

  • items to purchase, or
  • researching products and solutions, or
  • learning about other people with similar needs

But the market for uncovering all sorts of information from web pages not included in Google’s index has too few choices.

We weren’t impressed with an article by Claire Cain Miller, titled As Web Search Goes Mobile, Competitors Chip at Google’s Lead, which was published on the New York Times web site on April 4, 2013. We were hoping for some word about an ISV with a new system to index the entire internet, regardless of the specific “Pagerank” of each site. But what we got was news about Amazon and Yelp snatching searches from Google from shoppers buying products online with small, smart mobile devices — nothing more.

There are many, many more reasons to search the internet than to simply buy things. The problem has been to find a way to pay for the effort, to build a successful business model around a method of truly indexing as much of the web as possible. LexisNexis, Dow Jones News Wires, Bloomberg and their competitors are certainly each making a lot of money. They offer a wider set of information (but on highly qualified criteria. In the case of Bloomberg, customers pick specific types of markets or a combination of them. Wide open web searches are not possible with any of these system). But the cost of a Bloomberg terminal and news service is beyond the reach of the mass market.

We think over the next 5 to 10 years new tools will be built to support searching a much wider set of web pages by just about anyone, in other words, for the mass market. The ISVs bringing these tools to the market will need to find other methods of selling their technology than either a click on an ad, or a subscription to a highly defined set of data.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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