Will Better Search Sabotage The Business Model?

Microsoft search researcher Eric Brill suggests that as search gets better, it will be less a money-maker:
Microsoft Researcher Questions Search Engine Business Model from CRN, a nice
catch from Search Engine Guide. Brill’s comments were made yesterday at a conference at
. Brill’s been involved in developing an answer engine for Microsoft, as Gary’s blogged before: Microsoft
Research Gets Serious About Search

I’d love to have known more of the discussion. I’m guessing the idea is that if you give people the perfect answer naturally in the "free" results, they won’t need to click
on any of the ads.

Perhaps. But I also suspect we’ll see that for very popular, very generic searches (think cars, movies, dvd players and so on), the "free" stuff simply won’t be shown until
well after ads. And as long as those ads are fairly relevant, it probably won’t send most users fleeing from search engines.

Related reading

Robot sitting on a bunch of books. Contains clipping path
A picture of the 'Springfield Shopper' newspaper from The Simpsons, bearing the headline "LOCAL MAN LOSES PANTS, LIFE"
A screenshot of visual search on Pinterest. On the left is a picture of a copper angle-poise lamp, with the words 'Visually similar results' above it. Down the right-hand side are a number of pins showing similar lamps.
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