Saturday, July 07, 2012

Web of Limits

The world wide web, as it is known, is barely worldwide anymore, and certainly not wide, or deep.  It has been slowly brought down to limited resources.  At one time a search for something like auction would have brought back lots of results, now it shows two or three main results, and everything else is gone, for the most part.  Sure there are still thousands of results, and if you dig deep enough through the results you will actually find something different.  For all intents and purposes, there are very few results.  Why is this, how did this happen?

Is this because of some search engine tricks, or their policies?  Is it because of paid search results?  A Google search returns 987,000 auction results.  That seems like a lot, but is it really.  How many people actually notice the stuff on the bottom shelf at the grocery store?  Below the fold, beyond the first page, who goes there?  If you have to scroll the page.  Scrolling becomes a thing of the past more and more these days.  With devices that access the web, but limit the content that is available to those devices, more and more people look less and less beyond the first fold.

Besides everyone knows that eBay is the auction site.  It is the de facto site for auctions, this is long established.  There are some niche auction sites, and even some of them come in before eBay in the return of results (depending on your web history), but most people don’t search for auction sites, they just go to ebay.com.

The same goes for shopping, everyone knows that Amazon is the internet superstore, you don’t need anything else.  If you are seeking a specific item, you search for a specific item, and often you will be provided with a few sites that specialize in that item, before you get the shopping results, and then a result for Amazon.

Each search engine provides its own methodology, but the results are generally the same.  Search for something, and you will most likely get the same results for all search engines.

Who uses search engines anymore.  There are places on the web where we go to get certain things, and those are the places that provide us with our window on the web.  We use wikipedia to know more about something, youTube to watch videos, FaceBook or Google+ for social interaction, Amazon to buy stuff, eBay for auctions, PayPal for payment services, Google for search and cloud services, and so on and so forth.  Like the brick and mortar world, there are places we go, to get what we need and want.  Where we go depends on how far below the fold, or how far off the beaten path we want to travel.  More and more it seems we are going less and less astray from the popular pathways.

Do the proverbial “they” need to control the web?  No, like life, they only need to suggest the bars, and we will believe in the prison we have built around ourselves.

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