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.

1 Way to Impress Your Friends

Or, 24 ways that is. If you’re were sleeping through december month, or maybe too busy handling your mother-in-law, you might have missed 24ways, the ajax/web2.0 advent calendar. The idea is simple; every day they would release a new ajax/web related article. The articles are written by different authors, who are probably considered experts in their field.

It recently struck me how ingenious this is from a marketing point of view. Releasing quality content like this, on a single site and on an pre-known schedule (in this case every day) – you’re bound to get dugg a lot. People also seem find it delicious, and it’s probably just a coincidence that this wasn’t “news for nerds, stuff that matters“.

This will without doubt create a sort of a synergy effect where all the authors get extra traffic (they are all linked to from the article listing in additon to the article). When bloggers get together and release something like this, their chances of getting large amounts of traffic multiplies. Sure, the main site gets hit the most (in this case – but I suspect the individual authors also got their share (looking at the alexa traffic rankings for a couple of them it seems they had quite an increase in december/january, but that might be coincidental.

Anyway, why didn’t anyone think of this before? (allright, I’m sure someone did and I just failed to do some research, but still – it seems like a good idea to do this for something else than ajax).