As the world comes to realize the enormous amount of money that can be made in the search space, small companies are doing their best to jump on the bandwagon. When Google first started, they were the David that managed to beat the Goliaths. But can such an event take place now that the world understands the value of search? Can a new startup search company compete with the search Goliaths these days?
There are certainly a lot of companies willing to try. Each one is betting that their product has the right stuff - added value offerings - to turn the public's head. One such company is Searchen.
Searchen's mission is to provide the best search results fast. They claim to do this "by searching some of today's most popular engines combined with our own human edited directory listings and then giving you the best combined results all in one place." In addition, they also offer clearly marked premium advertiser spots at the top of the search results.
Executive Director, John Colascione says: "We didn't want to create just another search engine because that wouldn't have helped anyone. Our aim was to build a site that assisted users in finding suitable information in a matter of seconds while providing small and large business owners with an effective way of promoting their services to the web community via search."
Searchen also has partnerships with Amazon, Yahoo! and Webshots to provide shopping, news and image searching. In addition, they focus on their directory. Directory listings receive priority placement in the search engine results. They offer a search toolbar and the ability for webmasters to add "search your site" functionality.
So, the question is, is this enough to overcome the huge obstacles in their path to search engine stardom? Maybe. According to a recent study of search result overlap by Dogpile and Penn State, users are finding that they must switch from one search engine to another to find what they are looking for. In essence, they are creating their own metasearch. The study showed that 84.9% of total search results were unique to one engine (using Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, and MSN). For example, by searching only Google, a searcher can miss 70.8% of the Webs best first page search results. This means that users are missing out on a lot of relevant results unless they search through each of the top 4 engines. A metasearch engine, which pulls results from several of the top search engines, is essentially eliminating a large part of this problem, giving the users more of what they want.
Searchen, by displaying results from several engines, as well as their own directory, may help users find what they want, all in one place. Of course, there are other companies doing similar things, so the competition is fierce. I think a metasearch engine can compete with the Goliaths of search, but which one makes it to the top is the one that will win the hearts of users through a mixture of good results, unique offerings, and good marketing. I'll be watching Searchen to see if they have the ability to make that substantial leap.
One final note: As an SEO, I like the fact that my sites have pretty good rankings in Searchen. 🙂