Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?
We all grew up on the tales and fables of our childhood and one of my favourites has to be the one about the three pigs and the big bad wolf. The rhyme I always remember is: who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?
This got me thinking about whom technology’s big bad wolf would be? Which company out there, today, has less to worry about than most others? To me, and because I am in the SEO business, the answer would be Google. They seem to be financially sound, appear to have great corporate governance and their staff members seem to love working for them. Does this mean that they are infallible? Certainly not. Like most companies out there, even Google has its share of enemies and competitors, okay it might not be the longest list in the world but they certainly do exist.
If you look at technology’s Big 5, namely: Apple, Android, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter; it is interesting to note that none of these are considered Google’s fiercest competition. The company that Google most fears at the moment is Washington-based Amazon.
Google is a search company, first and foremost. Where they really make their money is from the searches people do before they buy something online. These commercial or buying searches make up about 20 percent of total searches on Google and those searches are where the ads are.
What is troublesome to Google at the moment is the growing trend among consumers to bypass Google altogether and search for their required product directly on Amazon.com or through one of Amazon’s mobile apps.
There's data to prove this trend is real. According to ComScore, Amazon search queries are up 73 percent in the last year. But it makes intuitive sense doesn't it?
Why go through these steps …
  • Google search "rubber galoshes,"
  • Analyse some text links,
  • Click on one to go to a product page on some e-commerce store,
  • Click to add the item to your cart,
  • Input your credit card,
  • Input your address,
… when you can just …
  • Search amazon for "rubber galoshes,"
  • Click one button to buy the product with your usual credit card and have it shipped to your normal address.
On mobile, where Amazon has its own app and Google is just a search bar for a smaller-screened browser, the equation tips further in Amazon's balance.
The scenario gets even scarier for Google if Kindle phones and Kindle tablets gain ubiquity.
In South Africa, Kindle devices are regarded as cheap technology and if you sign up for your Amazon.com account, your purchases are literally one click away and get synchronised with your device over-the-air and in my humble opinion, painlessly. 

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