Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals
Blog Categories (aka Tags) Archive of Traffick Articles Our Internet Marketing Consulting Services Contact the Traffickers Traffick RSS Feed

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Portal Threat to Verticals (and how to beat it)

There are a lot of exciting developments in specialized search these days. Shopping search, job search, social bookmarking, classifieds, local search, and more. Quite a few startups have gained enough momentum to attract funding and followings of loyal early adopters.

The threat to these players comes mainly from the dominant portals, Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Verticals hit a wall at a certain point in terms of their enthusiast communities. To cross the chasm into more general acceptance (as a company like Paypal or indeed Google did), they need continued exposure from the main channels where people look for stuff, or they'll simply get bought out by one of those main channels, and get their exposure from within. Paypal got taken out by eBay. Google was truly launched into the stratosphere by Yahoo generously allowing it to be Yahoo's search results provider for a protracted period.

So the reliance of verticals (job search engines like Indeed.com and Simply Hired, for example), can reach a point of overreliance on portal exposure. If a portal player is interested in acquiring them, they can "play God" with the amount of exposure those vertical players get via organic search referrals month to month, as a reminder of who calls the shots.

After all, they can tweak results pages to send more traffic to their own internal properties, as Yahoo now does with Hotjobs (formerly an independent in its own right, acquired by Yahoo). And they can ape the innovators, as Hotjobs has just done in releasing a new "job engine" that resembles models pursued by the upstarts. Even if you want to pay for placement, Yahoo might throw up roadblocks -- they can exert editorial control over which keywords are even for sale.

Local search players like RedToronto.com face a similar challenge. Last week I talked with Roger Abbiss, Red Media's CEO. To his way of thinking, the need to buy exposure through competitors such as Google is not a barrier so much as a predictable and controllable cost of doing business. Still, it does feel like it's always a struggle to "get the word out" to potential users and advertisers for a vertical search property. What RedToronto.com does to get the word out, in part, is to call local businesses and ask them for their business, much as the Yellow Pages companies have always done. And they maintain that close personal contact and savvy understanding of those local businesses' needs. This approach is unorthodox in its use of time-honored sales orthodoxy. This proximity to advertisers "on the ground" may turn out to be the quiet "tortoise-vs.-hare" advantage that keeps listings services like RedToronto in business long after similar dot-com-style models have run aground due to a lack of advertiser interest and overreliance on portal traffic that can suddenly dry up or increase in cost.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




View Posts by Category

 

Speaking Engagement

I am speaking at SMX Milan

Need Solid Advice?        

Google AdWords book


Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


Posts from 2002 to 2010


07/2002
08/2002
09/2002
10/2002
11/2002
12/2002
01/2003
02/2003
03/2003
04/2003
05/2003
06/2003
07/2003
08/2003
09/2003
10/2003
11/2003
12/2003
01/2004
02/2004
03/2004
04/2004
05/2004
06/2004
07/2004
08/2004
09/2004
10/2004
11/2004
12/2004
01/2005
02/2005
03/2005
04/2005
05/2005
06/2005
07/2005
08/2005
09/2005
10/2005
11/2005
12/2005
01/2006
02/2006
03/2006
04/2006
05/2006
06/2006
07/2006
08/2006
09/2006
10/2006
11/2006
12/2006
01/2007
02/2007
03/2007
04/2007
05/2007
06/2007
07/2007
08/2007
09/2007
10/2007
11/2007
12/2007
01/2008
02/2008
03/2008
04/2008
05/2008
06/2008
07/2008
08/2008
09/2008
10/2008
11/2008
12/2008
01/2009
02/2009
03/2009
04/2009
05/2009
06/2009
07/2009
08/2009
09/2009
10/2009
11/2009
12/2009
01/2010
02/2010
03/2010
04/2010

Recent Posts


Want Your Page to be Popular? Just Add Water. (Or,...

Channel-Based Wholesale PPC Still on a Roll

Google in Your Walls

More on Click Fraud Lawsuits

Yahoo Paid Inclusion: Is this Story Authentic?

Think You're Original?

Et Tu, Lord Black of Crossharbour?

Amazon Turning Ten

Some Folks Like Spyware... Really!

Google Payment System Deals with Micropayments, sa...

 


Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals

 


Home | Categories | Archive | About Us | Internet Marketing Consulting | Contact Us
© 1999 - 2013 Traffick.com. All Rights Reserved