Ansearches for ways to tackle Google

Australian internet search engine company Ansearch is going head-to-head with internet search "goliath" Google, by launching its own branded search engine for Australian users.

Though Google may appear to have a vice-like grip on the local online search market, the Melbourne-based Ansearch will officially launch www.ansearch.com.au on November 30.

Louise Williams, marketing manager at Ansearch, is confident the search engine will find wings: "The IT market is always volatile and full of new developments," she said.

"Before Google, no one thought Yahoo was beatable. We are not initially seeking to take Google out of the market, but believe there is an opportunity to do something different to Google and offer users something unique."

Ansearch will differentiate itself in several ways. Some of Ansearch's unique features include:

  • Quality of data: focus on a relatively small list of the most popular websites in the world rather than those with the most number of websites linking to them
  • Ranking: based on usage rather than link farm size.
  • Focus on a site versus pages: IE's Geocities will feature in its database only once, rather than the extensive network of millions of free pages / Web sites that are found within Google. This will result in a natural tendency to feature more business/commerce sites.
  • Top sites index: a listing of top Web sites updated and ranked regularly.
  • Small data footprint: allows for a daily update of the top-ranked Web sites, as opposed to updates every six weeks.

Williams said statistics showed that the search engine market was growing and there was still a need for portals to drive traffic for companies wishing to conduct paid advertising.

"From an advertiser's point of view, the desire for more traffic via click-throughs is becoming even more prominent, with the current demand for page impressions outstripping supply in several major industries," she said.

Williams said there were several areas which would generate revenue. For the moment, these include CPC (cost per click): performance-based advertising similar to Google, Sensis and Yahoo; and Enterprise Search, which will allow companies to manage and search large quantities of data across an Intranet/WAN.

There are three other revenue streams that will be revealed in Quarter Four, 2005. "To the best of our knowledge, no other search engine -- global or Australian -- is addressing these other areas," she said.

According to measurement firm HitWise, Google was the most visited search site for the week ending 20 November, 2004 with 63.17 per cent. This was followed by Yahoo (10.96 per cent) and ninemsn (6.70 per cent).

Foad Fadaghi, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan Australia, and a close follower of the search engine space thanks to several years at Internet research firm Jupiter, said Ansearch.com.au lacked the profile of the big guns in the search engine market. If anything, he said it had a role to play as a niche player, similar to that of an Anzwers.

Yahoo Australia's search producer, Peter Crowe, was of the same opinion. He said there were a lot of companies out there which posed a threat to the Yahoo search business, but said he did not feel threatened by Ansearch's presence.

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