Chris Sherman (SearchEngineWatch) writes:
Though the big three [Google, Yahoo, MSN] dominate search market share now, vertical search sites experienced strong growth over the past year, most notably in the shopping, classifieds and travel categories. This growth is correlated with a concurrent decrease in referral visits from search engines.
In other words, searchers are becoming more sophisticated, and are learning that general purpose search engines are not always the best choice for every type of search, a mantra that we’ve been chanting here at Search Engine Watch for years.
Will the growth of verticals threaten the big three? Possibly, but it’s more likely what we’re seeing is a maturation of the industry that allows for both general purpose search engines and verticals to co-exist. A similar phenomenon occurred with television, with the original major networks dominating the scene until the advent of cable, and the explosion of niche and specialized networks and programming. While the major networks lost share to the specialized services, they still dominate in terms of overall market share.