With all three of these companies talking about bribery as a method to steal users away from Google, it becomes increasingly clear just how "sticky" ... Google really has become.As Mike points out, one way to get people to switch is to be obviously better. That's what Google did to Altavista to steal the crown.
Getting people to switch is not easy. It can't just be about catching up, or being marginally better -- but about being so overwhelmingly better that people can't afford not to switch.
But there are other ways. In Microsoft's case, being the default search engine in the default browser in the default operating system means that, to use Google, people already need to make the effort to switch to Google. The trick might be just not to suck so bad that people make that switch when they get a new computer. Just being good enough could work here.
I think Yahoo has it harder, but, like Microsoft, Yahoo does have a group of people who use Yahoo every day for services like Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo News, and My Yahoo. These people are already on Yahoo, but are leaving to do their searches. Why? If you're on Yahoo, shouldn't it easier to use Yahoo Search than go to Google? Right now, it doesn't seem easier to me, but it should be.
With Amazon, Ask Jeeves, and the other smaller players, life is more difficult. These folks are unlikely to generate a better relevance rank that Google -- not unless Google trips and stops innovating like AltaVista did -- so a frontal assault is not a good option. Given that, if they look anything like Google, there's no reason to use them. They to be different. I think they should go after something -- question answering, personalization, social search, verticals -- that makes them obviously and clearly different than Google. It's the only way to get noticed.
But, bribing people to use their search engine? C'mon, that's just lazy, short-term thinking. Bribes are no way to inspire real loyalty. They would be much better off spending those dollars on making their product worth using.
[Found on Findory]