An interesting white paper published at OneRiot’s blog claims that 40% of users’ search queries across major search engines including Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask are best satisfied by real-time search results. That is, indeed, quite an impressive number that shows the huge potential market for real-time search engines. It also – somehow – explains the huge buzz around Twitter and the continuous talk about the potential threat it poses to other traditional search engines, especially Google.
Real-time search engines fail to gain market share
Aside from Twitter, other – recently emerged – real-time search engines are finding a hard time proving their business model and gaining market share, in spite of the potential huge market. We, here at Thoughtpick, have been monitoring this market since our coverage of 9 real-time search engines a few months ago. Unfortunately, according to compete stats, there has been no major gains in the last 3 months, on the contrary, most services showed a decline in numbers of visitors. In fact, OneRiot which is the most successful in this category, with 150k more visitors than its second competitor Twingly, shows a drop of 100k visitors in the last 3 months.
To be comprehensive, the number of visitors here doesn’t really reflect the entire picture of OneRiot’s situation. OneRiot posted an impressive increase of search volume in the past 3 months, which went up to handling 30 million searches in September from merely 4 million searches in June. This may sound surprising at first sight, where there seems to be a contradiction in the numbers between traffic and their reported search volume gains, but there is a simple explanation to that: the developer’s Application Programming Interface (API).
The power of open APIs
OneRiot has launched its API back in July, that is when its search volume really took off. Today, 80% of OneRiot’s searches come through its API rather than directly through its site, which explains the drop of site visitors and the boost in search volume. But how good is that?
OneRiot’s API launch demonstrates the power of opening one’s platform to developers which guarantees wider reach and increase in search volume, but at the same time it has proved to lower the site’s visitor count. This means less adverts are displayed translating into less revenue unless they have a plan B for monetization (?).
Increased search volume is an asset to OneRiot as search itself is a volume game; the more search queries they process, the better their results become, and thus this may be a good long-term strategy for OneRiot to establish themselves to be the best real-time search engine available! It is interesting to see where this strategy will take them especially that they are also trying to make success of ‘content‘ ads – new concept of ads that they believe works best for real-time.
Will the future be any different?
40% of the search market is not a number to be ignored; it will be a tough challenge for traditional competing players who will do their best to add real-time to their search offerings and the new comers who are eager to gain some market share. With new rules, it is interesting to see who will gain and who will lose from this search war.
Let us know your thoughts: Do you think that new comers have any chance? Are the real-time search engines that you’ve tried and still lack features that you’d like to see implemented?