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Competing with Google

July 31, 2013 | About:
Those of you who like studying Google’s “economic moat” might enjoy reading the Washington Post article entitled “AltaVista is dead. Here’s why it’s so hard to compete with Google

This article is a transcript of a conversation with Gabriel Weinberg, an entrepreneur who competes in the search engine market: “His site, DuckDuckGo, touts industry-leading privacy features and ‘zero click info’ boxes, which show information curated from sites like Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha.”

The topic of search engine competition is timely, given that Yahoo recently pulled the plug on Altavista (one of the premier search engines in the 1990s).

As I was reading this article, I kept asking myself how I would compete with Google. If I had to compete with Google in search, I would probably take a similar approach to Mr. Weinberg and focus on areas that Google wasn’t focusing on. Mr. Weinberg states:

“Our approach was to treat the ‘copy the Internet’ part as the commodity. You could get it from multiple places. When I started, Google, Yahoo, Yandex and Microsoft were all building indexes. We focused on doing things the other guys couldn’t do.

One was instant answers. People were going directly to Wikipedia, Yelp and other large communities with user-generated content. Those answers were not appearing [on conventional search engines]. You were still getting links. [We thought], why can’t you aggregate that information, give people those results?”

However, even by doing different things than Google, search is still a very tough business – as evidenced by the number of search firms that have been put out of business by Google.

I’m reminded of a 2009 quote from Charlie Munger: “Google has a huge new moat. In fact I’ve probably never seen such a wide moat. I don't know how to take it away from them. Their moat is filled with sharks.”

This article was an interesting read. If you have a minute, you may want to read it:

Continue here to read article.

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