Posted May 17, 2008 2:32 pm by with 31 comments

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No matter what your attitude towards the Google-Yahoo-Microsoft triangle may be, such a title definitely makes you ask yourself a few questions. “The Real Google Killer”, no question mark? Nope, not this time. Yes, the real Google killer is out there and it’s only a matter of time until the inevitable occurs.

Am I referring to Microsoft? Even if they’d be willing to invest a pretty penny in order to make that happen, they don’t have what it takes at this point. What about Yahoo!? Given the way things stand financially as far as this company is concerned, they are hardly in such a position. Maybe You’ve got to be kidding me!

Up until this point, we know which companies we can exclude from the list of potential Google Killers. It’s not Microsoft, it’s not Yahoo! and it most definitely isn’t I’ve said this on numerous occasions here on MarketingPilgrim and this Fortune magazine article makes everything as clear as it gets: the Google killer will be (drum roll please) … Google!

The folks over at Google may think that they’re on top of their game, simply because competitors aren’t exactly giving them what one would call a hard time. But, even if you are the biggest player in search, such a situation can have side effects as well. What happens when you are too sure of yourself? What happens when you think that you are in a position where nothing can harm you? You tend to become sloppy, you tend to get carried away and lose track of reality. In other words, you are facing an inevitable reality check, even if your name is Google.

Let’s just say that this is a principle which has been around for quite a while, and guess what: Google is most likely not going to represent an exception. I can’t stress this enough: if things continue in this manner, it’s only a matter of time until Google collapses under its own weight. The folks over at Google are only human and, as a result, will not be able to keep up with such a growth rate.

I have one question for you: after they’ve bought just about every company they were able to get their hands on, were they able to at least establish the foundation for a revenue source which could at least be compared to AdWords? I rest my case.

Best wishes,

Alan Johnson

  • Excellent follow up on today’s “breaking” news. The saying goes “the bigger you are the harder you fall” or something like that… 🙂

    However, doing well with Google, so I wish them the best LOL!

    Diane’s last blog post..Jumptags A Winner In Any Book Plus An Update on Blogcatalog to Boot

  • When the rules of the game are known, the windows of opportunity have long been closed.

    Google is now on top.
    And the new prince is starting to emerge or he is ‘just around the corner’.
    Problem is: who or what will be it.
    We will only know, when it’s already too late to step in ourselves.

    Only a few companies are capable to re-invent themselves: IBM, Apple, GE
    As Google has proved over and over again to be a one trick pony, I guess re-inventing will be hard to do.

  • I still fail to see how AdWords is a one trick pony. Maybe you could say paid search ads on is one trick, but certainly AdSense is another, site placement, video ads, radio, television, mobile… To say as Andy commented before on my same point that these are not relevant as they aren’t monster revenue generators ignores that some have been around for only a few months others are still under development. They are most certainly expanding their inroads into other channels of ad serving at a rapid pace. You really aren’t paying attention if you think that paid search ads is all they are doing and all they will be pulling revenue from in large amounts in the near future.

    Getting you finger into every flavor of advertising pie is far from having a singular revenue stream. All of their other efforts are free, and will remain free, they are creating platforms to serve ads. Go read Chris Anderson’s article recently in Wired:

    Google does not need to make money off selling mobile handsets, electric cars, or whatever it is we think they have to do to keep from destroying themselves in order to be able to buy and sell each and every one of us 1000 times over now and well into the future.

    I’ve taken my shots at Google plenty, so I’m far from a fan boy, but all this talk about how, when and why Google is going to be “killed” is just journalistic masturbation.

  • Terry, no matter what perspective you choose to view the situation from, the fact that most of their profits come from one product (AdWords) remains.

    They will obviously not experience problems this year, the next or even two years from now. But, in the long run, putting all of eggs in one basket (even an impressive one such as AdWords) is extremely risky. While I do agree with Warren Buffet’s that over-diversification is not an option either, relying on just one product is not exactly what one would call a sound business model but time will tell 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson’s last blog post..The Inside Scoop on Link Baiting – How Things Really Work

  • Have you ever even explored what their offerings are beyond little text ads next to search results? It’s not even just CPC based models that are offered, or even AdWords itself. Perhaps you caught some recent news about DoubleClick being acquired? They’re out front on contextual and impression based internet advertising by a very very wide margin. Soon that reach is going to extend even further into broadcast television, radio and print than it is now.

    Honestly, saying they have one product, AdWords, is a little bit of ignorant word usage, and maybe that’s what’s confusing people. Replace AdWords with ADVERTISING, because they offer WAAAAAY more than text ads on the web, and it sounds incredibly silly to say Google is foolish to hedge their bets on a one trick pony like that fad idea of “advertising”. Unless we plan on thinking that this whole “ad” thing is going to go the way of the dodo… Of course I suppose the entire capitalist concept could just fade out in the next couple years and we’ll live in some kind of Star Trek utopia without currency or possessions, magazines, papers, broadcast, and the web will be offered without any type of sponsorship whatsoever. Yeah, when that day comes, Google is going to be in biiig trouble.

  • “because they offer WAAAAAY more than text ads on the web”

    Sure, they “offer” way more than text ads, but where do most of their profits come from? Text ads, perhaps? Let’s just say that, if we were to eliminate the revenue which is being generated by text ads from the equation, their profit level wouldn’t be anywhere near the current one.

    Best regards,

    Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson’s last blog post..The Inside Scoop on Link Baiting – How Things Really Work

  • But the expansions that these articles are calling for are under way, the television, radio and print efforts are not even widely rolled out yet, being just a few months out the gate. The DoubleClick acquisition just got completed. So is the suggestion here that Google is going to kill themselves because they haven’t made incredibly ridiculous unheard of feats of success moving into entirely new markets in a matter of less months than you can count on one hand?

    No, the criticism and discussion centers around Google not making moves to increase their revenue profile, which they absolutely are doing or a variety of very big return fronts. If you or any of these journalists think the criticism should be that they haven’t gained a sizeable share in short time of the well established traditional media advertising markets that they are just now moving into, well that just shows an impractical sense of how the business world works and what any company, Google or not could accomplish. What’s next, they are incompetent because they can’t make monkeys fly from their arse?

  • Pingback: apBizz : Selected News » Blog Archive » Google Implements Changes To Strengthen AdWords Conversion Tracking!()

  • The real google (adwords) killer is evolving from the likes of phorm and the ISP’s evolving their own ad networks. Dynamically re-insterting adverts into webpages and eventually completely bypassing the traditional ad network providers like google, yahoo or MSN. The Technology is there right now, and there are already ISP’s in the UK who are trialing in secret more extreme versions of Phorm type technology to manipulate web page content on the fly.

    Matt Aiken’s last blog post..GTA IV vs Wii Fit

  • It may not be necessary for a third party to come in and kill off Google. There are rumours spreading that the may in fact kill themselves. news reports say that they are leaking talent from pretty high positions. This is going to destabilise their whole company.

    Giving employees a day a week to focus on a project of their choosing has caused employees to think of the next big thing whilst working at Google and then leaving Google to set it up themselves.

    Google is also so heavily reliant on Adwords and many of their applications is nothing more than novelty and are rather useless at generating substantial revenue.


  • Google will be just fine for years to come. They certainly will not fall under their own weight.

    Sure they will slow down in the years to come, but only because when they control most of the web and it’s data their mission will be accomplished.

    John Lessnau’s last blog post..AdSense Loves Bad Content

  • I like your point of view…It’s true that Google is the best for current time but soon they must aware that over self confidence is the biggest enemy. Hope it is before their glorious time pass.

  • Everything works cyclical, and in today’s world attention spans are notoriously short and crowds are notoriously fickle. Today’s best flavour is tomorrow’s old news, etc, etc. Nobody and nothing is immune to this syndrone, so it will be interesting to see the Google juggernaut evolve to beat this. Good post, thank you Alan!

  • Unless one of the other search engines does something really amazing, I don’t see google dying anytime soon. But we must keep in mind that most of the average internet users do not use google, most people will search on yahoo if they need something. Google is king only among the search marketers.

  • No one would kill Google or MS, another star will rise in convergence of mobile and PC technologies, Nokia now is really close to it.

    Elections guy’s last blog post..Polls before Pennsylvania primary: Obama most popular

  • I am not completely sold on the idea of large companies colapsing because of too much size and/or diversity. If the structure and autonomy are correct, one big company can function the same as several small companies but with a financial safety net. However, google seems to rush too many apps to market. Many of them are very flawed and most of them are short on support and resources. This early adopter dissatisfaction is surely what leads to so many google apps just falling flat and languishing. This, however, is not insurmountable for google. If they can achieve the focus and accountability that a small company must have when entering new markets, they can continue to grow and succeed.

  • Matt S.

    It doesn’t matter where Google’s revenue comes from, in terms of this article.

    I think the point is that eventually Google will get so BIG that it will be logistically impossible to manage everything that is going on, and to keep things running as efficiently as it has been.

    There won’t be a replacement for their Sponsored ads – there may be good competition, but they will not get replaced until the whole computing interface changes drastically.

    … and one last thing to keep in mind – Arguing on the Internet is like being in the Special Olympics… even if you win, you’re still retarded.


  • Nice post you have there. I agree that google monopoly would someday become a burden to theirself. But, however, google rocks!

    jatt’s last blog post..Top 11 Information Marketing Business Mistakes to Avoid

  • For the next 5 years google will be very hard to crack. Their position in advertising is unique. The only danger comes from the big publishers grouping together to make their own pay-per-click Advertising network. As long as publishers still use the old pay-per-view model google can sleep calmly.

  • Great one. After reading what you said, I do agree with you that Google could prove to be its own greatest enemy.

    Tony’s last blog post..Who Want Very Good Car Insurance?

  • Well, Google is indeed getting very big and I agree that it may one day collapse under its own achivement.

  • When Steven Jobs announces a new version (iPhone) the world listens and speaks about.
    When Google launches yet-another-Beta it hardly gets noticed.

    So who is in control for PR ? Steven Jobs.

    When Amazon launched EC2, many of us felt the need to sign up.
    When Google launched Google Labs, it was yet another showcase of their imagination without a purpose.

    Currently Search is used one by one: you search something and you copy it in a documents: a collage
    When the semantic web will be available, we will no longer need old fashioned Google.
    Video killed the radio star.
    MP3 killed the CD.
    … killed Google.

  • I think in the end Goole may be the next Real Google Killer.

    Richard P. Srery
    Operations, Logistics & Engagement Management

  • New Search Engine Immune to Click Fraud

    InverSearch is a search engine that bills its business users by the number of responses they make to consumer inquiries rather than by the number of hits they receive. InverSearch has moved completely away from the pay-per-click business model that currently dominates the search industry. The future of search is pay-per-response, which does not affect the relevancy of search results or devour advertisers’ budgets.

    Consumers and businesses alike sign up for InverSearch accounts; consumer accounts are available free of charge, while businesses pay only per response to the bona fide leads the site delivers to them. Once consumers create their accounts, they can create confidential inquiries for the products and services they need and submit the inquiries to businesses globally, locally or anywhere in between. The inquiries are delivered via the InverSearch user interface to InverSearch business users, who can choose whether to respond directly, or to ignore consumer inquiries that do not interest them, paying only for the responses they actually make.

    InverSearch inverts the roles of the parties involved in a traditional search – the inquirer and the recipient, or the consumer and the business. In many respects, InverSearch is like a dating service, matching consumers with needs to businesses with solutions. It’s the beginning of a paradigm shift from the burden of searching being placed on the consumer. Since businesses already respond to consumer inquiries that come from conventional business advertising, InverSearch integrates seamlessly with the advertising businesses are already doing.

  • Google already did pay per response and it sucked out loud. It sounds good in theory but the true quality of a response cannot be systematically measured outside of the e-commerce space. In lead gen the matriculation period could be up to a year or more and quality control points to the depth that they SHOULD be measured would never be accepted by such services. There is too much form spam to allow an automated approach to that.

    The methodology is observing your traffic sources and the leads they generate according to your own standards and revising your keywords and budget allocation accordingly is a human’s only club, no machine will ever be able to do it as well.

    Your comment spam though might be helpful to people with e-commerce based sites though.

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Brevard County Set to Charge Fire Rescue Fees

  • Terry,

    How can I contact you to gain some more insight into your response above? Through your blog?

    BTW, I see nowhere Google or anyone else ever tried a real pay per resonse model.



  • Cost per acquisition or cost per action are not pay per response. They’re both still pay per click. And you’re right, they both suck. They both failed.

  • You’re right, “cost per acquisition” is a metric, not a payment model. Pay-per-action is not PPC, as you don’t pay for any clicks.

    I think I see that what you are describing with the service is paid lead gen, which usually if the agreement is written correctly does not require the recipient to pay for poor quality leads.

    I have to disagree still that the future is pay-per-response, because sometimes people’s matriculation rate on leads can be over a year. As well, when you need a certain volume of leads and nobody knows your audience and what a good lead better than yourself, then nothing ever beats having talented in house people optimizing and improving lead flow and CPL (CPA) on a daily basis. THAT is the future of search (but then again I’m biased)

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..80’s Birthday Cake

  • Terry,

    We’re getting there. In other words, I think we’re talking about the same thing: Example: With InverSearch, a business owner only pays (currently) $.99 when THEY CHOOSE to respond to a consumer inquiry (which comes to them in advance via [and because of] the categories they picked when they signed up). CPA is not better than that. And I’m really not biased. BTW, why are you biased?


  • I just meant about the in house thing, as I manage an in house team.

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..80’s Birthday Cake