Increased Market Saturation and Competition

One thing you can count on with the Web is continued growth. In a July 2008 post, Google indicated that it was aware of 1 trillion web pages (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/we-knew-web-was-big.html). That’s a lot of pages! Considering that the known count of pages in 2000 was about 1 billion, this represents a growth rate of 1,000 times in eight years.

We should note that a lot of these pages may be low-quality or duplicate-content-type pages that will never see the light of day. For example, at the SES New York conference in 2009, Sharad Verma of Yahoo! estimated that about one-third of the pages on the Web were actually duplicates of other pages. In addition, the same Google post noted that Google has “only” 40 billion pages indexed. No matter how you count it, the Web is a big place, but one where the signal-to-noise ratio is very low.

One major trend emerges from an analysis of Internet usage statistics. According to Miniwatts Marketing Group, 74.4% of the North American population uses the Internet (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm), so there is not much room for growth there. In contrast, Asia, which already has the most Internet users with 657 million, has a penetration rate of only 17.4%. Other regions with a great deal of opportunity to grow are Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

This data is telling us that in terms of the number of users, North America is already approaching saturation. Europe has some ...

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