Snap.com, GoTo Reincarnated With AJAX

from the not-competing-on-search dept

Bill Gross’ Snap.com search engine relaunched today, with some interesting features such as previews of a site before clicking. The most interesting change is it removes any distinction between paid links and normal search engine results, as they’re both grouped together. This is roughly the same model that Gross’ GoTo used so it’s not clear exactly where the innovation is. There’s nothing inherently wrong with bought links, though the question for Snap is whether the inclusion of sponsored links makes results better or worse. For example, suppose someone pays a lot of money to be the first result for the term “Techdirt”. The problem isn’t that this site has been slighted — no site has the right to be the number one result in a given search — but users will quickly realize that they’re getting low-quality search results. On the other hand, if somebody searches for “mortgages” it probably makes as much sense to send them to the highest bidder as it does to send them to whatever site has the best SEO, as they’re likely to find on Google. Snap’s challenge will be to prove that on net the paid-inclusion model will result in superior results, and this will determine whether they get people using their site. There’s a catch-22, however, as they probably won’t get much ad inventory (crucial to delivering good results in this way) until they get a certain critical mass of users. Most of Snap’s other innovations seem to be on the advertising end. For example, instead of Cost-Per-Click, they’re using Cost-Per-Action, meaning the advertiser only pays if the user actually buys something. This eliminates the problem of click fraud, but again does nothing to make the service more attractive for the consumer. What makes the search engine business challenging for competitors is that you can’t compete on price or any other service for advertisers; you have to get the users and then the advertisers will follow, regardless of the ad model. So unless Snap’s paid-inclusion model churns out superior results, or users flock to their AJAXy results with page previews, it seems that their efforts are likely to prove futile.


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Comments on “Snap.com, GoTo Reincarnated With AJAX”

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8 Comments
Derek Reed (user link) says:

Fancy "AJAX"

I really think they have added some value with their preview and auto fill guessing. I don’t think ask.com took it far enough / cross browser compatible enough with their preview model. And I don’t think google pushed it to a large enough audience with their google suggest.

They’ve taken some already explored ideas and integrated them in a unique way that positively affected the value of the service they are providing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Once technology hits a certain level of maturity, the trend is for consolidation (which has already happened/is continuing) and the future leaders emerge. Usually two or three major leaders emerge from the rubble (read dot.com bust).

Google, Yahoo! and (kinda) Microsoft are the winners. Unless something spectacular happens or an amazing company develops, all others are doomed either to failure or mediocrity.

These people can do all they want, but they missed the boat.

Search Engines WEB (user link) says:

SNAP is using Gloss to compensate for SERPs

The AJAX/ Web 2.0 features are nice – howver, the SERPs really are nothing spectacular…

Snap probably does not have the finances and talent to compete with GYM or even Ask…

So understandably, the sponsor links are extremely important revenue resources.

One good idea would be to license the technology to Google, Yahoo, MSN or ASK for an optional AJAX version.

If they did partner with Google, adding the PageRank of the listings in the SERPS would be great! 🙂

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