Net 2003 = Net 1995?

Writes Kevin Werbach, stating that “The commercial Web in 2003 is getting back to what worked years ago”. He begins with the Search story.

Today, as companies retreat to their core businesses, they are finding, to their horror, that nimbler competitors have occupied the ground they neglected. Through the heady days of the boom, Yahoo! and other leading Web-based businesses larded on feature after feature, including stock quotes, Web-based e-mail, shopping, calendars, streaming audio and video, chat, instant messaging, and gamesanything to increase traffic and therefore revenues. Companies that were once simply “search engines” fattened themselves into “portals.” Yahoo!’s Web directory, its original raison d’tre, became an afterthought.

But as it turns out, the one thing people really want to do online is find things…While Yahoo! slept, Google quietly became the dominant Internet search engine, handling one-half of all searches…For many users, Google is the Web, in the way that AOL and Netscape once were. It’s the primary interface they use to maneuver online.

Werbach’s conclusion: “The Net has come full circle…The Googles of the world, who found valuable niches and stuck to their knitting, are thriving. Yahoo! and Inktomi find themselves the equivalent of a 1970s conglomerate: The whole is worth less than the parts.”

An interesting analysis. I use Google about 10-20x more than Yahoo (Yahoo as a MyYahoo page I refer to once in a while, while there is a Google toolbar for all my searches, of which I do plenty in a day).

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.