Search engines the new bad, says Jakob

In his latest Alertbox column Jakob Nielsen (you know, the usability guru) writes:

I worry that search engines are sucking out too much of the Web’s value, acting as leeches on companies that create the very source materials the search engines index.

He argues that people are using the search engines as ‘answer engines‘, and that they often do not visit the pages that create the content at all.

I see this myself. If I search for something, I often specify the search good enough so that I don’t have to visit the site. Especially when it comes to technology-related searches (e.g. config settings, etc.) – Google almost always display what I want in the text next to the title.

Why is this a problem? Well, the sites create the content, but don’t get the traffic. So, the search engines get the traffic (and the money that follows it) while the ones who actually create the content get nil.

And if the ones who create content want something, then they will have to outbid eachother on AdWords. I must say Jakob has a point.

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