Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman

Google Hoarding Searchers & Traffic with Snippets etc. Under Fire


Google’s Sundar Pichai was immediately pounced on in the first question of the antitrust hearing, asking the CEO why Google steals content.

Business Insider reports specifically that David Cicilline’s first question was “why does Google steal content from honest businesses?”

Ouch!

Pichai managed to dodge the question by telling Cicilline he disagreed with the “characterization” before Cicilline moved on.

Of course, Pichai didn’t agree with the characterization.

Nobody knows what, if anything, will come of the antitrust hearings, but as publishers, it’s interesting to see that the US government is taking notice.

Other countries have already. France and Australia require Google to reimburse publications for reuse.

Wouldn’t that be sweet if we could earn money from snippets in Google?

Speaking of revenue for search listing content, I wonder when Ahrefs will launch its search engine which suggested long ago it would do just that.

What’s pathetic is as publishers we still seek the snippet even if we don’t get reimbursed.

We’ll take anything.

I know I do.

Some traffic is better than none.

Google knows this.

The very fact that publishers have no recourse or a viable alternative is a pretty good sign that Google has cornered the search market.

Bing? Chandler’s last name comes to mind, not a search engine.

Yahoo? Does Yahoo still have a search engine? It’s a serious question.

Duckduckgo? Good effort, but I used Google to find it.

Yup, Google is a monopoly.

We’ve known it for years.

How many SEOs talk about optimizing for Bing? None. Nobody cares. Heck, I get more traffic from Pinterest than Bing.

This still surprises me because Bing is owned by Microsoft which is not short on cash. As of 2019, Microsoft is sitting on $136 BILLION in cash. Surely, a few billion could ramp up Bing to be a real contender.

Maybe Microsoft is gun shy about having a real search engine after having enjoyed its own antitrust hearings 20 years ago.

They get to sit the current one out. They’ve avoided cornering any one market in recent years. Once bitten twice shy.

Google’s stock price hit a record high on July 10, 2020.

It keeps making more and more money.

In order to make more and more money, it needs to figure out ways to squeeze out more dollars from every search. After all, they have all the searches.

Hoarding users is a darn good start. The ads on the SERPs pay the most.

If Google had its way, they’d send no user off its site. It would become the de facto internet, if not already.

I shouldn’t bemoan Google too much because as Google’s stock price reached its zenith, so have my display earnings.

I happen to be in niches and publish articles where snippets get the click instead of satisfying the search.

Am I naive to think that Google will be forced to cool it on its current practice of hoarding searchers?

Maybe.

Fortunately, there are publishers with deep pockets. Not Google deep, but deep enough to haul Google to court and lobby the powers that be.

What exactly the future holds with respect to Google and hoarding searchers remains unknown, but I suspect it’ll change in our favor in time. At the very least, it won’t get worse.

Maybe I’m naively optimistic.

If the opening salvo in the current hearings against Google’s CEO is any indication, change is coming.

Will another search engine rise up to claim 50% market share?

Not likely, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

So far, publishers still get plenty of visitors via Google.

In recent months (perhaps years now), I’ve wondered just how far Google will go with hoarding searchers.

They’ve gone pretty far, but we’re still getting plenty of traffic. I have more traffic now than a year ago.

Add this week’s antitrust hearings to the mix and it looks promising.

The big lesson in all of this is if you decide to establish a monopoly, hire a CEO in your place to take the grilling.

While Sergey and Larry are off sunning themselves in quarantine on some superyacht, “poor” Sundar takes a beating.


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