Jakob Neilsen’s Rant

The useability “guru” has turned his sights on search engines now:

Search engines extract too much of the Web’s value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors.

Read the full article – http://www.useit.com/alertbox/search_engines.html

Quite an interesting article – Personally I think search engines (and things like del.icio.us, digg.com etc), while useful and interesting, do run the risk of “dumbing down” the web.

Popular sites get more hits / higher rankings and as a result get more visitors, which in turn generates more hits (more diggs, more tags etc). As people turn to “web 2.0” social networking to find sites, this has the definite risk of creating a situation where the less popular parts of the internet will turn into a no-mans-land with no visitors and no chance of getting itself out of the quagmire, because no one is “digg-ing” or taging or linking to the site. Its a shame really.

An additional, unwanted, side effect is the amount of effort some sites have to go to with SEO. A shame that so much time and effort is spent basically trying to trick people into visiting.

One thought on “Jakob Neilsen’s Rant

  1. I think Neilsen makes some good points really, although once upon a time he was a major advocate of search engines and SEO.

    Most of his article is more about the need to keep users coming back and maintaining value for money.

    As a side note, my personal issues with search engines is very much like yours. We seem to have fallen into a world where the tenth of a second is critical. Some blogs are fantastic, and updated weekly – meaning unless they are already “well known” there is no way people will find them.

    Take Neilsens site – monthly alerts…. Without out his current standing people would never see his site. When he did an update, it would be at the top of (eg) Technorati for about 3 seconds and within a minute he would be off the page and not seen again until the next month.

    Despite the “democratisation” of the web, it is very much a case of unless you are already popular that chances of people reading your content is minimal.

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