Search Engine Watch
SEO News

Go Back   Search Engine Watch Forums > General Search Issues > Search Industry Growth & Trends
FAQ Members List Calendar Forum Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-09-2004   #1
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
Can Google's Popularity Die?

This new article came out and was posted at WebmasterWorld by Brett Tabke that said "But 60% of Google users said they would switch search engines if a better service were introduced." Currently, of that study, 48% use Google as their main engine, so for 60% of those people to say they would drop Google if something better came along is huge.

People can compare Google to AltaVista back in the day. Where is AltaVista now? Yahoo bought them and they are cannibalizing its technology to make the new and improved Yahoo! Search. But AltaVista never had the brand name and the reach Google has today. Google is synonymous with the word Web search, just like Kleenex is synonymous with tissues. That is something really hard to change. "I'll Google that word and get you the answer boss." "My home page is Google." "Where would I be without Google?" These are all statements I hear now and then by average Web users.

Ok, so you buy other brands of tissue paper. You buy the generic brand even though Kleenex is synonymous with tissues. But would 60% switch if a new engine came out that was better then Google? Well what is "better"? Less spam? More relevancy? Google isnt bad with either of the two. Plus relevancy is in the eyes of the beholder. I know many people in the education industry use Teoma because Teoma's results and tools are more focused on research. But Google is more focused on the public.

Take Apple computers for example, I know I can buy a more powerful Windows machine but I am a die hard Apple fan. I take the brand, the look, the design and the power of my PowerBook into consideration. I am proud to be an Apple computer user. Are you proud to be a Google user? That is the question.
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #2
seobook
I'm blogging this
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: we are Penn State!
Posts: 1,943
seobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to all
Quote:
Originally Posted by rustybrick
This new article came out and was posted at WebmasterWorld by Brett Tabke that said "But 60% of Google users said they would switch search engines if a better service were introduced." Currently, of that study, 48% use Google as their main engine, so for 60% of those people to say they would drop Google if something better came along is huge.

People can compare Google to AltaVista back in the day. Where is AltaVista now? Yahoo bought them and they are cannibalizing its technology to make the new and improved Yahoo! Search. But AltaVista never had the brand name and the reach Google has today. Google is synonymous with the word Web search, just like Kleenex is synonymous with tissues. That is something really hard to change. "I'll Google that word and get you the answer boss." "My home page is Google." "Where would I be without Google?" These are all statements I hear now and then by average Web users.

Ok, so you buy other brands of tissue paper. You buy the generic brand even though Kleenex is synonymous with tissues. But would 60% switch if a new engine came out that was better then Google? Well what is "better"? Less spam? More relevancy? Google isnt bad with either of the two. Plus relevancy is in the eyes of the beholder. I know many people in the education industry use Teoma because Teoma's results and tools are more focused on research. But Google is more focused on the public.

Take Apple computers for example, I know I can buy a more powerful Windows machine but I am a die hard Apple fan. I take the brand, the look, the design and the power of my PowerBook into consideration. I am proud to be an Apple computer user. Are you proud to be a Google user? That is the question.
I think the real amazing statistic there is that even if there was a better search engine out there 40% of the people would refuse to change by their own admission. that is powerful brand loyalty right there.
__________________
The SEO Book
seobook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #3
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
Quote:
Originally Posted by seobook
I think the real amazing statistic there is that even if there was a better search engine out there 40% of the people would refuse to change by their own admission. that is powerful brand loyalty right there.
Agreed, you had to look at it from the other side of the coin.
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #4
Anthony Parsons
Rubbing the shine of the knobs who think they're better than everyone else...
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 478
Anthony Parsons will become famous soon enough
That coin could just get squashed in a couple of years if Microsoft gets its search capabilities within the software and make a decent job of it producing great results. I have no doubt we will see a Microsoft / Google court battle instead of Microsoft / Netscape when Longhorn happens.
Anthony Parsons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #5
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
But will Microsoft settle out of court and keep Google alive, just like they have been doing for Sun?
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #6
dannysullivan
Editor, SearchEngineLand.com (Info, Great Columns & Daily Recap Of Search News!)
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Search Engine Land
Posts: 2,085
dannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud ofdannysullivan has much to be proud of
I haven't seen the actual study/survey, but that type of question sounds pretty dubious to me. Ask anyone who uses something if they'd switch to another service if it was better. I high proportion are always going to say yes.

So 60% of Google users said they might switch? What percentage of Yahoo users might switch? Or MSN users might switch? It works both/all ways.
dannysullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #7
rustybrick
 
rustybrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 2,810
rustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud ofrustybrick has much to be proud of
But what about "brand loyalty". I do not think its black and white with Google. Especially since relevancy is highly subjective.
rustybrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #8
jbgilbert
Old Timer
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 100
jbgilbert has a spectacular aura aboutjbgilbert has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Ok, so you buy other brands of tissue paper. You buy the generic brand even though Kleenex is synonymous with tissues
EXACTLY! Given new products, enough time and the herd ("cattle") mentality of the human race, it is totally possible that Google could be heavily abandoned someday.

But, more importantly, who thinks that far into the future -- Google is currently king, so we go with it.
jbgilbert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #9
David Wallace
 
David Wallace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 887
David Wallace is a splendid one to beholdDavid Wallace is a splendid one to beholdDavid Wallace is a splendid one to beholdDavid Wallace is a splendid one to beholdDavid Wallace is a splendid one to beholdDavid Wallace is a splendid one to beholdDavid Wallace is a splendid one to behold
Can Google Die?

Absolutely. All it takes is some bad decisions and a company that looks like it was immortal suddenly becomes very mortal. Can anyone say "Enron?"

As for brand loyalty I only have a few. Jeep for SUV's, Dell for computers, and Right Guard for deodorant. Everything else is up for grabs with me.
David Wallace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #10
polarmate
Indian Food Junkie
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 70
polarmate is on a distinguished road
Google can die. IR / AI research may bring newer technologies to the fore...so it is entirely possible. The searcher is fickle and will switch to another search engine that provides better results.

But the question in my mind is Will Google die? They maintain their strong links to the research community and the proponents of their innovations have always been drawn from that pool of intelligentsia, where $$ is not always the primary driving force.
polarmate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #11
Heather Lloyd-Martin
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 42
Heather Lloyd-Martin is on a distinguished road
Sure, it's possible that Google could die. Any business could. Or get bought out.

One thing that Google has accomplished from a branding perspective is "Google" (or "Googling") is used to describe searching the Web. That is, we "Google" people or companies to learn more about them - and this term has been popularized in print, movies and television. So, even if there are other competitors out there, we don't use Yahoo! as a synonym for searching. That's darn nice branding for Google.

Pretty powerful stuff - but I don't think it will guarantee market dominance forever. Search is just like any other industry - new players come and go. Some businesses because mainstays - some burn bright and then flash out after a 5 year run. Will Google die tomorrow - doubt it. However, it will be interesting to see how the corporation matures and rolls with the ever changing times. That will be the main factor in their continued success.
Heather Lloyd-Martin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #12
pleeker
www.SmallBusinessSEM.com
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Washington state
Posts: 295
pleeker is a jewel in the roughpleeker is a jewel in the roughpleeker is a jewel in the roughpleeker is a jewel in the rough
There's nothing amazing about the fact that 40% of the people surveyed wouldn't switch if told there was a better search engine.

We're not a people that always gravitate to the BEST thing in the marketplace. The generic tissue example is a good analogy. We know there are "better" TV shows on, but we still watch what we like. People (generally speaking) are comfortable with Google, and they trust Google. When you tell them a better search engine has come along, the question has to be "Better how?" If it's not as comfortable for them, not as trustworthy, why switch? For many people, good enough is all that matters ... like the 40% in this survey.
pleeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #13
Webmaster T
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 64
Webmaster T is a jewel in the roughWebmaster T is a jewel in the roughWebmaster T is a jewel in the rough
Better is subjective so I don't put a lot of faith in the numbers. Googles brand like most internet brands is fleeting at best. Googles brand goes down the tubes the minute its results aren't generally trusted or perceived as best. I buy a lot of generic food products because in a lot of cases it is "the brand" in a different package. The only difference is I'm not buying/paying for the promotion of "the brand" or getting fancy packaging which only ends up in the rubbish anyway.

If the perception of Google's results changes I doubt people will continue to use Google because they can say "google it". The brand is the "technology" if it is found to be lacking then the brand perception and value is also impacted negatively.

I think it's also safe to say if trust in the results is lost then the brand is also negatively impacted. The recent research papers on how users use and perceive SE results indicates that the trust in MSN and consequently the brand is possibly being impacted negatively by the way they format and use sponsored listings and part of users trust in Google is based on the way sponsored listings are segregated. Google, IMO, is smart to segregate paid results even though it appears to negatively impact CTR.
Webmaster T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004   #14
St0n3y
The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Here. Right HERE.
Posts: 621
St0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to all
Google *will* die, but may also live on.

What do I mean? I open my refrigerator every day, but I have never purchased a Refrigerator brand Ice Box. Yes, Refrigerator was a brand name. So, Google will die or at least lose its sigularly prominant role in search, but it may also live a long live when we hear phrases like, "I googled you on MSN".
St0n3y is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004   #15
NetinsertGuy
Organize the web - www.Netinsert.com
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 11
NetinsertGuy is on a distinguished road
Here's another yes it can die vote. Searching the Internet is like playing golf, every shot is a new shot testing your abilities to hit the ball. That round little white ball lying in front of you does not know about your hard earned handicap and it will totally ignore you prior achievements as a golf player. It will plain and simple follow the laws of physics and if you hit the ball badly you will lose the game.

The same goes for a search engine. Every search is a new search testing the abilities of the search engine to show relevant results. The day when the competition shows better results, or more results, the searchers will move on. The only way to stay on top of the search industry is to work hard and play on par or better every day.
NetinsertGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004   #16
seobook
I'm blogging this
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: we are Penn State!
Posts: 1,943
seobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to allseobook is a name known to all
Quote:
Originally Posted by pleeker
There's nothing amazing about the fact that 40% of the people surveyed wouldn't switch if told there was a better search engine.

We're not a people that always gravitate to the BEST thing in the marketplace. The generic tissue example is a good analogy. We know there are "better" TV shows on, but we still watch what we like. People (generally speaking) are comfortable with Google, and they trust Google. When you tell them a better search engine has come along, the question has to be "Better how?" If it's not as comfortable for them, not as trustworthy, why switch? For many people, good enough is all that matters ... like the 40% in this survey.
We tend to believe we are using the best things. We may not be, but we think it is the best reality tv show, the funniest tv show, we tend to think inside a set channel and accept absolutes in our mind that are not true in the world.

Google does not have much better relevancy than most other major engines (and I often use Teoma to find stuff) but as Heather stated Google is synonymous with searching...

if people were convinced that there was a better engine and still not switch then that is pretty darn powerful. I kinda took the original quote as "belived in a better engine" vice "was told something was better." it is all semantics
__________________
The SEO Book
seobook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004   #17
pleeker
www.SmallBusinessSEM.com
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Washington state
Posts: 295
pleeker is a jewel in the roughpleeker is a jewel in the roughpleeker is a jewel in the roughpleeker is a jewel in the rough
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetinsertGuy
Every search is a new search testing the abilities of the search engine to show relevant results. The day when the competition shows better results, or more results, the searchers will move on.
Not picking on you NetinsertGuy, but just a general question directed to all the "As soon as something better comes along" proponents: If you believe that everyone will automatically gravitate to the BEST thing, how do you explain the continued success of AOL ... MSN ... Windows as an OS ... etc.? There are better alternatives to each of those, yet millions of people don't switch. (Heck, a lot of AOL users I know hate the service -- and refuse to switch to something better! Go figure.)

I'll stay with my previous comment: being good enough is often more important than being the best. Google will likely continue to be good enough for the majority of its users even if it should stumble from its current perch at the top of the SE popularity rankings. (SEPRs)
pleeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004   #18
St0n3y
The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Here. Right HERE.
Posts: 621
St0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to allSt0n3y is a name known to all
Bottom line is people tend to stick with what they know until they are forced, or curious enough to make a move. Good PR makes people curious enough to change, continuous bad results force peole to move on.
St0n3y is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004   #19
polarmate
Indian Food Junkie
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 70
polarmate is on a distinguished road
Switching your preferred search engine is much easier than switching your preferred email client, ISP, OS etc etc. All it takes is getting used to going to a new web site and searching there. The other type of switches take more effort and also cost $$ by their very nature.
polarmate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004   #20
bwelford
Internet Marketing Consultant
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 100
bwelford is on a distinguished road
The other aspect is that it's very difficult for the average searcher to be able to say that one search engine delivers poorer results, i.e. less relevant results, than another search engine. Relevance is in the eye of the beholder. It's not scientific. So provided the results are not obviously "wrong", what's to complain about.

... and you do have that theory of "cognitive dissonance". People like to have made the right purchase decision. So other things being equal their minds will try to maintain the vision that they made just the very best choice.
__________________
Barry Welford
SMM Internet Marketing Consultants
bwelford is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off