Answers.com Loses “Pole Position” To Google Dictionary

Answers.com has a strong URL (if not a brand) and lots of traffic, more than 25 million monthly unique users. It was the source of definitions in the “definitions” link in the upper right of Google SERPs. The key word in that last sentence is “was.”

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As of yesterday, without fanfare, Google replaced Answers.com with its own dictionary. This will be an interesting test of Answers.com’s strength and resilience. It will undoubtedly loose considerable traffic (how much is the question). And because it’s ad supported that will mean a corresponding loss of ad revenue. Furthermore Answers.com is a public company and we’re likely to see its shares decline, I would imagine, as investors discover this change and sell.

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The new Google dictionary actually offers a better user experience and some nice features, such as recent searches which are tied into overall Google web search history.

We’ll see how much Answers.com suffers but it’s another cautionary tale for publishers that rely too heavily on traffic from Google. Brand matters.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: General | Search Engines: Answer Search Engines | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://managinggreatness.com Gil Reich

    Hey Greg, great post, but let me clarify a couple of things.
    - The Google definition link was responsible for less than 5% of our traffic
    - Google was kind enough to give us the heads up on this, and we announced that this was coming in our last conference call & SEC filing

    Answers.com has moved far beyond being a dictionary, to providing answers from both licensed sources and our community. The vast majority of our traffic today is to our community generated Q&A. We greatly appreciate that Google directed their definition link to us for nearly 5 years, but recently it has been a very small part of our business.

    More complete answer here http://managinggreatness.com/2009/12/06/the-google-definition-link-and-answers-com/

    – Gil Reich, VP of Product Management at Answers.com

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