Would Top Sites Really Opt-Out Of Google Based On A Microsoft Bribe?

from the doubtful dept

Every so often, internet pontificators try to come up with ways to "kill Google." It's a silly game, but in an oddly timed move, three people (who have all put forth "how to kill Google" ideas in the past) all suddenly published similar ideas, yet again. Jason Calacanis, Mark Cuban and Tom Foremski all posted similar ideas about how certain sites (such as the top sites in the top search results) could all choose to opt-out of Google and, say, join another search engine like Bing. It's one of those ideas that sounds good for about 5 seconds. And then you actually think about it. First, the numbers being tossed around concerning how much it would cost, say, Microsoft, to convince most of these sites to opt-out of their number one driver of traffic is significantly higher than what's being mentioned in these articles. Many of these sites rely on Google traffic to make a ton of money, and they're not going to throw that away easily. At least in Calacanis' plan he suggests Microsoft offer "50% more than they make in Google referrals" which certainly beats Cuban's idea that many sites would opt-out of Google for $1,000.

Here's the thing, though. Most of those sites worked hard to get to the top of Google for a very good reason: they understand the value of being easily findable. As such, they also recognize that it makes little sense to make themselves less findable at almost any price. Getting anyone to opt-out first (other than suicidal sites like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.) is going to be nearly impossible. Who would want to risk that? Because the instant they opt-out, someone else would take their place. Quickly. And decisively.

There's value in being found these days, and to be found you need to be easily findable from anywhere if someone's looking for you. Not only would traffic decrease, but so would basic reputation. Even if Microsoft pays you a ton to drop out of Google, people are going to search for your business in Google and when they can't find it, they're not going to care how much Microsoft paid, they're going to think you're a small-time nobody. The best strategy these days, as most web site operators know, is to be as widely available as possible. Opt-ing out of Google because someone pays you some money is a lot more costly than just the lack of traffic.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    Here's an odd one. Mayor-elect Mike McGinn is looking for the best tools to run his new city and he has decided to expand his search to include normally non-traditional systems. He's definitely "thinking differently" and looking to platforms like Macs instead of PCs and iPhones instead of Blackberries. Normally, this wouldn't be very interesting, but it's happening in a city of 3.3M and a mere 12 miles from the heart of Redmond. Yes, that's right, Seattle.

    I could see it going either way: the number of GNU and FreeBSD-based tools such as MySQL, MAMP, and office suite available for MacOS, along with less admin work to upkeep patches and antivirus. At the same time, Microsoft may make an offer he can't refuse.

    http://www.9to5mac.com/seattle_mayor_goes_mac_30072

    http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/11/ seattles_new_mayor_is_a_mac.html

     

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  2.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    The answer to this one is actually really simple:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    The answer to this one is actually really simple:

     

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  4.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:20pm

    I thought it was unbelievable too

    I mean honestly, these companies are making more than $1M each. Did our dumb Mr. Cuban really think these companies are going to take a simple million to give up more than $1M/year in revenue? They'd probably have to agree to a million *every year* just to make up for a million in revenue, and since it's companies that pay tax I'm sure they'd want to make up for say 50 years of revenue plus tax?

    Suddenly the magic idea doesn't seem so viable, as that'd be in the potential trillions for the top thousand as i'm sure they make more than a mil a year.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Yes, removing the functionality of search sure is going to make the internet a better place.

    So what happens when an aggregate search bar pops up? You search all the search engines instead of Google, or Bing, or Yahoo?

    What if Google just makes their search an aggregate search? Or are they forbidden from presenting a link to Bing.com showing the searcher where to go?

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    The answer to this one is actually really simple:

    Alright, let's try that one again.

    The simple answer is this: if you have to pay people to use your search engine (indeed, most products), then it's over, you've lost.

    Google is Google because they're extremely good at what they do coupled with the fact that they have both a large number of dedicated users and the kind of name to product recognition that other companies salivate over. While it's not done globaly, how many people do you know who, when referring to conducting an internet search, simply say they are going to "Google" it? It's like people that call all sodas Coke.

    It's going to take something far more disruptive than mere monetary bribes to dethrone the Goog.

    I suggest BJs, they work wonders on politicians....

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    The title should have read "Windows 7 was My idea".

    Sorry for the mixup.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    The title should have read "I'm a Mac, and Windows 7 was My idea".

    Sorry for the mixup.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    I do not agree with "... people are going to search for your business in Google and when they can't find it, they're not going to care how much Microsoft paid, they're going to think you're a small-time nobody.

    This would be true for a small, unknown site, and a little true for medium-sized companies. Microsoft is not targeting them. Microsoft is targeting well-known, large companies.

    If I could not find, say, CNN on Google, I would not assume that CNN is a small-time nobody. I have already heard of CNN. I would assume (though incorrectly) that Google was having an issue. If I couldn't find Dell, I would not say, "Golly, Dell must be a small-time nobody." I would wonder, "What's up with Google?" Then I'd probably look at the robots.txt file from a Dell site, see if they have blocked Google.

    I don't think offering a $1,000 to a whole bunch of smaller sites would do it. I'd throw a million at the top 100 on Alexa or something like that.

    I don't think this is a particularly great strategy in general, but until Windows 7 starts sucking back market share (probably with Bing! popping up as soon as you log in to your new box), a lot of people are unaware that Bing! even exists. Plus, Microsoft has to deal with inertia. People still use Yahoo! Search, after all.

     

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  10.  
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    sehlat (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Joining Micro$oft might be hazardous to your rep.

    Anybody stupid enough to take money to lock the Big G out would probably get a response of: If they're that stupid, they're not WORTH finding.

     

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  11.  
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    TheStupidOne, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

    Re: The answer to this one is actually really simple:

    I use bing when I want to buy something and can game their system to get 5-10% back. Otherwise I use google for lots of reasons, but not the least being they gave me a customizable home page that I really like so it is the first page I see when I hop online.

     

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  12.  
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    cc, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Surely, anything that Microsoft can offer, Google can (and will) double.

     

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  13.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    i agree wholeheartedly, but if this ever leaked and I found out CNN took a bribe to not be on a specific search engine, I am not going to use their site, regardless of which search engine paid the bribe.

    Yahoo search is bing now anyways last i heard.

     

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  14.  
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    Derek Reed (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Re:

    People aren't only searching for "CNN" or "Dell", they're searching for "current news analysis on this thing I care about" or "cheap netbook that does what I need". It hurts Dell and CNN a heck of a lot more than it hurts Google. Every single competitor of any company taking that risk of jumping ship is going to reap huge rewards that's not easily offset by a million or millions of dollars. The numbers are never going to add up, it's cheaper to pay Google to shut itself down.

    Microsoft is actually taking the only realistic strategy, build a better value. They're not succeeding wonderfully, but clearly with both Windows 7 and Bing, they're trying to offer better value to consumers.

     

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  15.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Re:

    why should they? they haven't had to yet, if i was google i'd tell to go f*ck themselves.

     

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  16.  
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    Overcast (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

    You know - "Bing" in Chinese means 'Disease' :)

     

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  17.  
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    Philip123 (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:07pm

    Looks like Microsoft is worried about Google's foray into Operating Systems. Re Overcast, personally I thought MS would have done much better if they had named it Bong. http://healthjournalclub.blogspot.com/

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    Merely FYI, this is subject on which I happen (perhaps amazingly) to agree with the basic tenor of your article.

    I use Google, and have done so since its infancy, simply because I find it consistently gives me the best results. I have tried others and found them wanting in several material respects. Microsoft's Bing, for example, thus far falls far short of what I expect from a search engine.

    In short, if someone wants to displace Google he/she had better come up with something that surpasses what Google has to offer.

    My preference notwithstanding, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Google's expansion into certain areas does give me some concern. I applaud Google for its Google Books efforts, but have to wonder what downsides loom on the horizon. I have no problem with the Library of Congress as a repository, but have a nagging concern in the back of my mind that the Library of Google may prove problematic.

     

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  19.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    Actually the title should have read: "I am hijacking this comment section for no good reason."

    Techdirt has a story submission form, you know.

     

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  20.  
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    George Forsyth, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    Whatever works, right?

    I mean, if something is cheaper (and includes soft costs such as upkeep) it should be looked at. Not that long ago, I worked for a company that had a team of ten that substantiated their jobs by managing anti-virus and patching applications alone.

    I'm a linux person myself, and have long advocated moving to alternative platforms. Good for Mike McGinns.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010007179_mcginnlaw06m.html

     

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  21.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    Re:

    I cannot even imagine Google getting into a bidding war for search results. They would just bid them farewell and watch them fail.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    Really? I thought about that last week as I pressed the submit button to the second time to add additional detail.

    By chance, are you implying this is a management problem?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:28pm

    It seems to me that this kind of advice encourages MS/Yahoo, etc. to go about things all wrong. If the problem is that they can't do as well as Google in the search sector, the obvious answer is don't compete with Google in search.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    To add, I don't think it is a management problem. Instead, I think that Mike didn't have time to get to it and appreciate it as I did.

    I mean, he sent me my CfW+RTB swag in a box labeled "Extra Strength Cooling Mint Antacid". If you have a problem with that, then well, you sir...

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:37pm

    Link didn't come through because I was angry.

    http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20091028/0348476705#c72

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Big Al, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    As the other posters have pointed out, the majority of people go into Google to search for a product rather than a company. If Dell opt out and a user searched for 'sub $800 laptop' then they will get a lot of results for their query, but no Dell.
    So, having got the information they wanted from the first 20 entries or so, they will make the assumption that
    a) Dell does not provide a sub $800 laptop or
    b) The Dell product is in some way inferior, since it didn't appear in the search.
    So, exactly how is this situation going to boost Dell's bottom line, even with a 'paid to move' scheme?

     

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  27.  
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    Noel Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    Rewarding Effort

    Well, If Bing came up with a rewards program for loyalty,
    that when customers use gives them a BIGGER BING $$$ at the checkout ...... Cha - Ching!
    All the heard will follow and use a search facility that rewards its loyal customers.

    Yeah I know, it was a stupid idea that was more wish full thinking ........

    But what about those dumb credit card reward scams?
    Everyone thought that was dumb and look at all the sheep flocking for those!

    Why not partner a few of these up?
    Watch how fast Google reacts to this!!!!

    Being dumb has its rewards ;)

     

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  28.  
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    jon, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:26pm

    Funny, when I google "Dallas Mavericks", the first return is the team web site. Their owner must have not taken up Mr. Cuban on his offer....

     

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  29.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    ...wha?

     

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  30.  
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    Bazooka Joe, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:49pm

    I knew Cuban is a tool, but never heard of the other two.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:42pm

    Google should stop indexing the sites that try to kill them :)

    Anywho, this is just evidence that the rich and the powerful hate anyone who innovates, especially those who innovate without intellectual property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:45pm

    Re: The answer to this one is actually really simple:

    "I suggest BJs, they work wonders on politicians...."

    How would you know this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Lobbying the government seemed to work very well for cableco corporations and Hollywood. Outside of the Internet most music that's easily accessible (ie: on radio, television) is offered only at monopoly prices (ie: lots of commercials and expensive cable subscriptions).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Mayor wants best tools to run his city. Investigates Macs and iPhones.

    You remind me of a Scene from Seinfeld when George Costanza said to Jerry: "It's not a lie if you believe it"

    Bahaha!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    David Gerard (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:26am

    Please don't feed the troll

    Jason Calacanis' product is Jason Calacanis. He seems to have given up his idiot pontification regarding Wikipedia when he realised we were actively laughing at him and moved onto other ways of attracting attention. He is a freelance ad-banner troll and best put in the Dvorak box.

     

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  36.  
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    David Gerard (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:32am

    Re:

    Indeed. The kids these days don't realise how much search *sucked* before Google. They were the FIRST ONES to crack the problem of text search. Google NEVER ADVERTISED, it was ALL WORD OF MOUTH.

    This is, by the way, why Bing image search gets users - even Google hasn't cracked the problem of image search.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: The answer to this one is actually really simple:

    Yeah whats the answer already?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    AnonCow, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 4:57pm

    If a business is one of the top three search results and can't monetize it properly, then I don't really care if they opt out since they are obviously MORONS and any information they provide should be very suspect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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