Google Suggest Monetized: The ABCs of Search, June 2009

There is nothing really wrong with monetizing your website.   Those of you in the back, the ones from the late 1980s screaming “Information must be free” are excused.  The rest of you gather ’round and watch what our big search engine company pulled off.

Multiple sites have reported that Google is selling space at the bottom of its suggested links.  I first became aware of the trend slowly and then in living blog color through Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine Land piece last year. But Silver Beacon has been tracking Google Search Suggest since last year for this very reason.  We knew that the power of the Suggest feature would be too great to ignore over time.   That’s why we didn’t scream too loudly when the letter ‘O’ brought up Orbitz instead of Obama, as it had for months.  Because no matter how influential the travel site can be, more searchers typing the letter “O” are going to be looking for information about the U.S. President than travel information. And Orbitz reigns supreme as the travel referral.   “T” is the province of Target now and forever.   Priceline?    Try Photobucket instead.

Maybe there is a Fox incentive for their photo site.  One hopes so. Because there definitely is a deal worthy of Daniel Webster’s intervention when the oft-hyped Wikipedia was replaced by Walmart (yes, spelled that way) and Realtor.com took over the “R” spot from “Runescape” and “Radio Shack”.  Really?   Realtor.com is the top phrase searched for when someone types an “R”? That’s some amazing housing crash.   Sure, Zillow is in the “Z” spot, but it’s not like the Z spot had tons of competition.

Our methodology remains the same.  We sampled Google Search Suggest on multiple computers in multiple major markets.   Four different browsers, none associated with a Google account and at least one clean install of IE on a computer without Google accounts, were used. This may not be the most scientific view of the world, but when multiple responses return, “Yes, X is showing for XM Radio, not Xbox anymore,” one simply smiles and says, “What took you so long to pin the money makers at the top of your list?

And this is your Google ABCs of Search list developed on June 1: amazon best buy craigslist dictionary ebay facebook gmail hotmail irs jcpenney kohls lowes myspace netflix orbitz photobucket quotes realtor.com southwest airlines target usps verizon wireless walmart xm radio youtube zillow

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