The value of NBCi (was Re: GoTo Policy Change)

From: Michael Martinez <>
Date: Thu 29 Mar 2001 10:07:54 -0600


[big snip -- stuff about Goto's price change and the
 effect it may or may not have on competitors]

>And finally, NBCi? Do you really think so? Is it not more
>likely than an outfit like Terra Lycos to go the same way
>as Go?

I guess that depends on what NBC hopes to achieve with
NBCi. They bought, at the very least, a Web-hosting company
(Xoom), a search engine (Snap), and some other services to
create the NBCi brand. They've also built partnerships with
other services. And NBCi has gotten a ton of advertising
on both NBC and MSNBC, from what I understand.

So, are they meeting their objectives? If so, I don't think
there is much chance of NBCi going away.

Up until a few weeks ago, I never paid much attention to
Snap/NBCi. But then I looked at my statistics for February
and I noticed that NBCi shows up as multiple sub-domains.
Their traffic, when I put the numbers together, was
significant enough that I asked myself why I wasn't listing
all my sites with them.

Upon closer inspection, I see some real strength in NBCi.
It's got a two-tier directory structure which is
unparalleled in the search service industry. You have a
reasonable shot in many categories of getting a first
page placement even though you aren't listed in the
reviewed sites. I also like the fact that you can review
your sites' progress and revise the listings. In fact, I
don't think NBCi has edited any of my listings (although I'm
getting to be pretty good at writing generic listings the
directories will mostly accept).

I said Yahoo! and Google are the top two players, and
everyone else is jockeying for 3rd place. I had put MSN,
AOL, and NBCi as the front-runners for 3rd place. But it's
really more complex than that. I think we're going to stay
with hybrid services, directory + search engine or search
engine + directory.

We now have Yahoo! + Google, AOL/DMOZ + Inktomi, Google +
DMOZ, Altavista + Looksmart, Looksmart + Inktomi, Excite +
Looksmart, MSN's Looksmart + Inktomi, and NBCi + Inktomi.
Goto, Findwhat, Sprinks, and similar services will become
ad placement engines. They may or may not survive on that
model, but advertising will be their bread-and-butter.

Given today's industry, my money is on Yahoo! + Google,
AOL/DMOZ + Inktomi, and either MSN or NBCi. Lycos is out
there, but they aren't exactly chewing up the competition.
I don't think Excite is going to do well in the long-run,
either. And I just can't see Altavista hanging on to what
they've got. Their market share is already eroding. But,
ultimately, I like NBCi over MSN.

   \\ // Science Fiction and Fantasy
    \\// Visualizing Middle-earth, a book for all Tolkien fans
   // \\

Received on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 10:07:54 CST


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