I am at the Search SIG down in Mountain View listening to the founders of some of the new vertical search engines including Healthline, Simply Hired, Trulia and Truveo. There were nearly 20% people in the room who were building search engines. When I asked these […]

I am at the Search SIG down in Mountain View listening to the founders of some of the new vertical search engines including Healthline, Simply Hired, Trulia and Truveo. There were nearly 20% people in the room who were building search engines. When I asked these panelists whose search engines are basically are scraping other sites, cannibalizing the folks that provide the “content” for their sites, what was their exit strategy? Answer – dead silence. I was saying this earlier in the day, on this Web 2.0 highway, there are three exits: Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. And that simply sums up the single biggest problem with Web 2.0. Niall says Google mentioned every five minutes!

  1. could not agree more!

    the silicon valley economy should not revolve around a great google hope, no more than the seattle economy should not revolve around a great msgt hope. build long lasting sustainable businesses or web 2.0 will be the biggest joke since, well sock puppets.

  2. aw c’mon Om… not quite fair, since the panel did address a similar question earlier in the session…

    when asked about acquisition vs IPO about 15 minutes prior, the panelists responded with various takes on what the possible prospects were, and they also indicated that it was still fairly early and they were still exploring monetization via advertising, lead generation, and other potential areas as they matured.

    i think perhaps the silence was more due to there not being any definite answers to exit, more than any specific expectations of a flip to Google (or Yahoo or Microsoft).

    while i’d agree those are 3 very likely candidates with acquisition agendas (as are other lesser lights EBAY, AMZN, IACI, AOL), they’re not the only game in town.

    all 4 of the companies represented tonight focused on multi-billion dollar markets (employment, real estate, healthcare, television/video), all of have significant %’s of spending moving online.

    certainly each of those markets can support multiple independent businesses at substantial valuations, regardless of what G/Y/M decide they want to do.

    sure, while the Empire spreads its wings across most of the known landscape, it’s easy for folks to suggest that all roads lead to Rome — but the shipping lanes of the New World weren’t dominated by Romans.

    there were empires before Google, and there will be empires after Google. regardless, there will always be roads less traveled that lead to rich and plentiful lands, unknown to today’s centurions.

    hail caesar? ahh…. screw that shit.

    set course for first star to the left, and straight on til morning.

    – dave mcclure

  3. Hey Om –

    Wow, can’t buy a link on your blog, even in a round-up! ;-)

    Actually, I think the official reason you got a silent response was because JohnB had just asked the question a moment before.

    Great seeing you again; will you be at the TechCrunch BBQ next Friday?


  4. Looking at the web stats from my little site, I can see your point about being “cannabilized”. Maybe its time for the free lunch to end and for me to start doing some major kung-fu on my robots.txt file. How much is access to individual web sites worth to these new search engines?

  5. tony… honest mistake. fixed. also lets catch up in the city. it should be fun

  6. dave, what was said earlier was a mealy mouthed politically correct statement. that’s all. it was not an answer. hence me asking the question…. again!

  7. Om-

    GYME is a better sounding acronym. Eh tu Dave? ‘Lesser light’ heh. You’d think with the Skype acquisition eBay would be a big blazing pulsar of an acquirer.

  8. hey ro: EBAY likely an acquirer in more focused areas; however i’d agree with Om that acquisition aspirations for Yahoo / Google / Microsoft are likely all across the board.

    at least to date, EBAY hasn’t staked its claim as a broad-based portal destination / search company. (altho i certainly agree with you that it could be — and i tried to make a strong case for moving in that direction while i was there… i would imagine that’s part of the reason why Louis Monier left to join Google).

    eBay does seem to be making more aggressive moves these days with Skype deal & Kijiji & Verisign acquisition, but i’d say they are still more narrowly focused on shopping & payments than on a broader search portal / destination strategy that G, Y, & M are all aiming for.

    anyway: it’s not a bad strategy, just a more specific one.

  9. [...] Om Malik’s Broadband Blog — » Web 2.0 Exit… what is that? Couldn’t agree more. Is anyone focused on building an actual company anymore? Does anyone else wish for a 36 hour day, like me? by Black Rim Glasses | posted in running Trackback URL | Comment RSS Feed Tag at del.icio.us | Incoming links [...]

  10. isn’t the vertical search result – because of its derivative nature – much more difficult to monetise than a classified database query, esp in a cpa world? and won’t that factor reduce exit opportunities, esp in big-ticket-item categories?
    imho monetisation of the fixed-format structure of classifieds will be much easier than the non-format derivative listing in search engines. trulia tends to take its content straight from the local press websites, which often take it straight from the local MLS. isn’t realtor.com a much more focused and traceable destination for cpa dollars?


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