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Are we seeing a major change in emphaisis?
From Paul Graham on 25 May '98
Hi everybody

Just testing out a few ideas here. I am now of the
opinion that within the next 18 months or so we are
going to see a massive change in emphasis in the way
we navigate the web.

Only this evening I was met with a pop-up advertisement
on Infoseek. Yahoo appears to have virtually closed the
doors on anything but sponsors of some kind, and Excite
appears to be simply buying up the best of the rest!

Are the days of a free Internet coming to a close? I
distinctly think so.

By that I am not saying that we will have to pay to
get listed - just that we will be ranked bottom of the
pile if we don't.

Now, this opens the door to an entirely new style of
Search Engine. For some months now I have been monitoring
the number of specialised search engines and directories
that are popping up. And, believe me they are appearing
at an incredible rate.

Would our advertising dollars be better spent on a
specialised directory or in the designated topic for our
site in Yahoo, for instance?

My research (for what it is worth) shows a higher level
of click-throughs from my listings on smaller, more
specialised sites than I have received from Infoseek,
Excite or Yahoo - individually that is.

Now, don't get me wrong, a good listing on any of these
sites is worth it's weight in gold, but when you consider
the expotential growth of the Internet and compare this
to the number of hits, the increase is minimal.

Alternatively, the increase in hits from smaller,
specialised directories is far higher than the percentage
increase of Internet users.

Are we utilising smaller sites rather than large
directories? Are we becoming more experienced in the way
navigate the web?

I would be interested to hear your opinions on this and the

If there were a search engine you could visit to find
information on online marketing, advertising, forums,
associate programs, CGI scripts, html etc. would you use it
for searching these particular topics in preference to the
larger more established search engines?

If we were to launch such a search engine and invite you to
participate in forums, discussions and regular chat meetings
with guest speakers, again would you use it?

If we were to offer you preferred listings in exchange for
your word to introduce this service to your friends and
associates, would you be interested?

I hope that these questions open up a useful discussion on
what I believe to be the future of the Internet.

Always at your assistance.

Paul Graham

Editor of the Advance Newsletter

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