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Online Marketing Newsletter - November 2003

In this issue

Significant changes for the major search engines on the horizon. Inktomi becomes more important at the expense of Google.

At the moment there are four search engines and directories that are responsible for over 90% of the searches on the web:


Google – 32%

Yahoo – 25%

AOL – 19%

MSN – 15%

(source comScore Media Metrix – May 2003)


But, take a closer look at the numbers. Most of the results in a search at AOL actually come from Google. Yahoo's results come from a combination of sources (it's own directory, Overture's Pay-per-click ads, etc), but the majority of the results also come from Google.


So if it your combine the Google numbers from AOl, Yahoo, and the Google site itself, you'll see that Google is responsible for about 65-70% of the searches on the web! That's approaching a monopoly.


But that's about to change.


First lets' look at MSN search . MSN's results come from a combination of sources, mostly from the Looksmart directory and the Inktomi Search Engine as well as Pay-per-click sponsored ads from Overture.


However MSN has announced that it will drop Looksmart in January which will leave Inktomi as the major source of it's ‘natural' or Editorial results (MSN will continue displaying sponsored results from Overture).


You may not have heard of Inktomi as it does not run a public web site where people can visit and search the web. Instead it provides results to other engines and directories such as HotBot,, and MSN Search.


After MSN drops Looksmart in January, Inktomi will become a more important player. But this is only temporary. Inktomi has being purchased by Yahoo, a competitor to MSN in the search market. MSN does not want to continue getting it's results from a competitor and they are developing and testing their own search engine crawler, which should be released sometime next year.


Now over to Yahoo. Yahoo has been buying other search proprieties this year including Inktomi and Overture (Overture had already purchased the FAST and AltaVista search engines earlier in the year).


We expect Yahoo will drop Google very soon, possibly before the end of the year. It will instead display the results from it's own Inktomi search engine as well as from it's own Yahoo Directory and sponsored results from Overture.



Getting confused? Well here's the bottom line.


First Inktomi will be much more important for the foreseeable future. Its increase will come at the expense of Google.


Here's how we expect the search market to evolve over the next year -


Yahoo – With the majority of results coming from Inktomi (and sponsored results from Overture)


Google – Still a major force, but not as domineering as today. Google will continue to supply results to AOL and others.


MSN Search – With search results from Inktomi for the first part of the year until it releases it's own search engine/database later in the year. We expect MSN will continue to display sponsored results from Overture for now, but since Overture is now owned by Yahoo we won't very surprised to see a change here too.


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George Aspland


"I just want to tell you that I am very happy with all you've done, how easy it is to work with you, your responsiveness and organization and all the great results we're having from your work. I really believe that the internet/web work you've done has been a best investment for thanks, thanks, thanks!"

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Executive Director

The Parents' Foundation for Transitional Living

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