The Google Eclipse

Nowadays Google is so widely acknowledged as the Goliath of the Internet, it’s hard to recall that while Overture was morphing Incredible Hulk–like, Google was the wimpy kid. But it was a wimpy kid with some assets that gave it advantages even against a competitor as big and well funded as Overture.

Overture didn’t have a proprietary search algorithm. Google had a proprietary algorithm that drove traffic to Google. Its search algorithm became celebrated. By contrast, Overture was, in effect, renting traffic from the portals. Overture was giving portals up to 70 percent or more of the revenues it received. Google didn’t have to pay for the traffic as Overture did.

Google also had an edge when it came to branding. Many ...

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