Which Search Engines Will Survive? by Dan Thies
With recent bankruptcy of Excite@Home, and Altavista's admission that their search engine database hasn't been updated since July, it's clear that another round of consolidation is coming upon search engine industry.
The important question for marketers isn't necessarily which portals will survive, but which search engines will drive their search results.
Excite and Altavista clearly attract enough traffic to ensure that *someone* will keep those domain names active as search portals, but that doesn't mean that there will be an independent Altavista or Excite database behind those results.
Is Lycos A Textbook Case? The story of Lycos search engine is instructive - Lycos.com is still there, but actual search results are provided by FAST/AllTheWeb. We simply don't know who will be providing results for Altavista and Excite in a year
So big question remains: which players can afford to stay in game, and how does that affect our search engine positioning plans? Time will tell - I can only offer you informed speculation on fate of industry's major players.
Who's In? Google, Inktomi, FAST/AllTheWeb, and DirectHit. All of these have significant traffic, either directly or through their partners, and enough value in their databases to stay in business, at least for a while. DirectHit is different, since they don't attempt to crawl and index web, but they have strong partners, including MSN.
Who's Out? Altavista, Excite, and Lycos were big players at one time, but we know story now. Altavista and Excite are close to death, and Lycos has already dropped their database. Northern Light may maintain an independent database, but their traffic is minimal.