Ask.com becomes Germany's search engine no.2 by arbitrage

Sun 26 April 2009 16:28, Evert Veldhuijzen

Ask.com becomes Germany's search engine no.2 by arbitrage

According to research firm Nielsen Netratings Ask.com has become the second search engine in Germany in the 1st Quarter of 2009. While Google with around 36 million unique users per month on average, reaches the top, Ask.com out competes it's competitors with 4.2 million users before rivals MSN (4 million unique users), Yahoo (2.5 million unique users) and AOL (1 , 7 million unique users).

"When we started in Germany back in 2006 and announced our goal to be the second biggest search engine, many were surprised. The fact that this goal is already achieved, therefore, pleases us even more," said Isabella Silberberg, director of Germany by Ask. com, about the result.

Now what did Ask.com do to become Germany's second largest search engine? They bought a lot of Adwords traffic! Showing up to 10 sponsored results above the organic results this model, also known as arbitrage, not only repays itself, but is also very profitable:

Ask1

Fig. 1: A comparison between German Ask.com (de.ask.com) and the US version. The German version shows up to 10 sponsored results above the organic search results putting the normal results below the fold.

A look at the Sistrix toolbox, showing over 120000 keywords booked by ask.com (maybe it doesn't seem much to you, but remember those are only the ones that the toolbox finds!) and a search at Google Trends for websites reveal Ask's tactic. Under "also visited" you find the biggest German arbitrage projects.

Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing to say against buying traffic with Google Adwords. But I think that "unique users" obviously isn't the right metric for search engine top-lists. How about direct traffic?



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