What do Google, Bing and Duckduck Go have in common? The human mind has defined these enterprises as search engines? Google was a search engine at one time and a good one. Yahoo at one time was a search engine. Today there are no search engines. There are no phone books. The search engine concept has morphed into systems of managing and directing internet traffic. The term search engine sticks but the search function is now missing.
What does a real search engine do? Type a term like auto repair and a zip code into Google or any of its competitors and look at the results. Will you see links to auto repair shop websites close to where you live? You will see a list of shopping services which may are may not list anything like what you are looking for. Out of twenty results you might find as many as three actual websites for actual local shops. There are many more and they all have web sites. Suppose you are a musician looking for ways to network with others like you. Type in songwriters and a zip code. They are out their but they are not going to show up on your search.
Don’t mistake this for a complaint or a call for government action. What am doing is identifying a vulnerability present in established search companies and an opportunity for some smart person to exploit. Google is huge and profitable but it actually prevents users from finding what they are looking for. Google is all there is. Even its competitors try to be as much like Google as they possible to be. How do they compete with Google? They send out the message, “Hey look at me. I am better at being Google than Google is.” It is no surprise that none of them have made any progress in eating into Google’s search market. What Google does not do is deliver much utility at all to people who use it, based on it being all that there is. Google’s search algorithm has to be one of histories best profit generating systems. However, it doesn’t deliver actual search results.
Does the term search engine optimization (SEO) mean anything to you? It does if you have a web page and are trying to get better search engine placement for your site. Sometimes SEO efforts can pay off but it has to be in an area unlike a mainstream business. Businesses like work from home opportunities or for SEO counselors may get a return based on SEO efforts. A hairdresser, or local restaurant would get no results at all. It is part of the Google business plan to squelch private individual sites. Google really no longer is a search engine and neither are any of its competitors.
So what is the answer? I am not looking for an answer. Why don’t we just call on government to make those bad boys behave? That is not a function government does although it is constantly asked. What about antitrust action? Antitrust actions are politically inspired and just don’t deliver the kind of results folks expect.
Monopolies are actually self destructive. Even the ones which appear invincible eventually crumble. AT&T was once considered a permanent monopoly. Then one day cell phones came along. It was goodbye to that monopoly.
Someone could start a search engine. How large would it have to be? How big would it have to be to compete with Google? The only reason it would have to start out as a giant operation would be if the goal was to immediately take half of Google’s traffic. It would only have to be big enough to earn a profit. A genuine general purpose search engine is an opportunity. There simply are not any genuine search engines in operation to day. It is definitely an opportunity.
The truth is a hard sell. Fantasy Free Economics gains readers one at a time. Major search engines simply do not list blogs which disagree with their world view. As long as folks share the link to this blog and others speaking out against the grain, the truth will at least trickle into the public consciousness.
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