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In Search, Bigger Is Not Better

by Jason Prescott  |  
February 5, 2008

When a search engine founder like me hits out at Google, a global search engine with a reported $13.3 billion in ad revenue as of June 2007, some might call it envy of size and scale.

But business and professional users searching for work-related information on the Web will tell you, as a matter of online marketing fact, that bigger is definitely not better. They have experienced significant frustration in finding needed data through general search engines like Google and Yahoo.

A 2006 study by Outsell reported a 31.9 percent failure rate among business users when researching topics using the major search engines. A separate study from Convera shows that professionals in virtually every industry are having trouble finding important work-related information on the major search engines.

While frustrating for B2B players, this current situation represents a significant opportunity for vertical search engines (VSEs).

Why General Search Engines Fail B2B Professionals

General Internet search engines like Google and Yahoo were not designed to be used as business tools, which is one reason only 4 of 10 professionals surveyed by Convera claim to be "very satisfied" with search results:

  • 11 percent always find what they are looking for on the first attempt.
  • 43 percent always find what they are looking for after several attempts.
  • 21 percent feel their query is always understood.

General search engines rely heavily on the popularity theory that rewards sites with authoritative inbound links. Web site popularity and keyword relevancy (among other variables) help determine rankings. The relevancy model works well for consumer search, as the general population usually finds what it is looking for fairly easy in search results.

For instance, a search for "Toyota Camry" brings up 2,630,000 results on Google and 6,740,000 on Yahoo at the time of this writing. There is no scarcity of information on Google and Yahoo when consumers are looking for product information, and they'll likely find it on the first page.

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Jason A. Prescott is CEO of JP Communications (, a network of wholesale vertical search communities offering search, auctions, advertising networks, and search marketing. He can be reached at

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  • by Andy Black Thu Feb 14, 2008 via web

    The E-consultancy/Convera “Vertical Search Survey 2008″ has just been released and reveals some very interesting information. To download a free online copy of the full report, click here

    CPM will be fastest-growing revenue stream for publishers in 2008

    Online revenue set to increase while print income flattens or decreases

    Content owners must ensure visibility within fragmenting digital landscape by embracing RSS, widgets and toolbars.

    Publishers see vertical search as opportunity to ‘reclaim the online community from Google’.

    The fastest-growing revenue streams for publishers in 2008 will be internet display advertising and online sponsorship.

    Some 72% of publishers are expecting an increase in income from CPM advertising next year and 67% are predicting a rise in digital sponsorship, while print revenues are more likely to flatten or decrease. Just under two thirds (64%) are expecting a rise in paid search (PPC) revenue.

    The findings come from a survey which was circulated to members of the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), American Business Media (ABM), Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) and E-consultancy’s early-adopter community of internet marketers.

    The research also highlights the need for specialist publishers to react quickly to major changes in the digital environment in order to maintain and increase their market share and visibility.

    Publishers need to adapt to maximize their digital revenues at a time of shifting advertising budgets. Trends in digital marketing are leading towards a fragmentation of the online landscape and ‘atomization’ of content. Content owners have a great opportunity to increase visibility for their content through the effective use of vertical search, feeds, widgets and toolbars.

    The level of uptake for feeds and customized homepages is very high among this early-adopter audience surveyed but this kind of online behavior will soon become more widespread a

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