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Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Google?

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Who's afraid of Google? Not Topix.net's Rich Skrenta, that's for sure. In his Skrentablog yesterday, he outlines 12 tips for up-and-coming search engines who want to take on Google, with a promise for more to come in "How to beat Google, part 1."

Rather than cower under Google's dominance of search and advertising, startups should feel confident that they can stand up and fight, he says. "Grow a spine people! You have a giant growing market with just one dominant competitor, not even any real #2 ... Get a stick and try to knock G's crown off."

Skrenta, co-founder & CEO of news aggregator Topix.net, gives some sage advice to those trying to do so. Among the advice:

  • If you merely duplicate Google's search engine, you will have nothing.
  • You need both a great product and a strong new brand. Both are hard problems.
  • You need to position your product to sub-segment the market and carve out a new niche. Or better, define an entirely new category.
  • Forget interface innovation. The editorial value of search is in the index, not the interface.
  • Forget about asking users to do anything besides typing two words into a box.
  • Your core team will be 2-3 people, not 20. You cannot build something new and different with a big team.


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