Ask.com Market Share Larger Than Reported?

5 comments

I think it was Benjamin “Dizzy” Disraeli that stated, ” “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.” That quote come to mind the other day while I was talking with a sales manager from Ask.com’s paid search division. She happened to share with me some interesting statistics about search engine rankings by market share.

No doubt that Google owns (restatement: “monopolizes”) the number one position. But after Yahoo’s second place position, it seems that the rankings start to break down.

According to comScore’s report for August 2007, Google Sites owned 56.5 percent of U.S. searches, Yahoo! Sites ranked second with 23.3 percent, followed by Microsoft Sites (11.3 percent), Time Warner (AOL) Networks (4.5 percent) and Ask Network (4.5 percent). Based on a footnote under these statistics, comScore stated that the numbers included partner searches and cross-channel searches yet searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers. You can check out the specific report by visiting: http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=1745

A few months earlier in April, Hitwise distributed its search engine ranking report with the following results: 65.26 percent of all U.S. searches to Google, Yahoo (20.26 percent); Microsoft including MSN and Live.com (8.46 percent); and Ask.com (3.69 percent). You can find the data at: http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3626021

Then Ask.com presented data attributes including: 47% percent of all U.S. searches to Google; Yahoo (28.1 percent); Microsoft (10.6 percent); and Ask.com (11.5 percent). In all cases, the “the search engine’s network of sites were used in the calculations. Without Ask.com’s network of sites their percentage actually drops to 2.10%.

What I find troubling is how Ask.com shows on comScore and Hitwise at or around 4% yet under their own data (that accurately includes their network of sites) as 11.4%. Are comScore and Hitwise leaving out Ask.com’s network in their calculations?

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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5 Comments

  1. They need to anyway show some fake stats to keep in pace with the biggies ;)

  2. TLC

    These days, that old saying by Disraeli (or perhaps it was Mark Twain) is still relevant, but with the power of advertising and data mining, it seems to me that a more appropriate form would be this: These days, there are lies, brand lies and heuristics.

  3. Great comment TLC! I love it! It fits perfectly.

  4. TLC

    Kevin: Thank you. And just so you know I'm not a one-trick pony, this one's for all the sales managers...and consumers. Today, all the world's a store, and all of us are merely payers.

  5. Stephanie

    I doubt that anyone can get a true read of search engine statistics unless the data is presented by each search engine themselves, under the same conditions, to one body that can compile and publish the results. But then who really trusts the search engines (really - would Microsoft present statistics that show Live as being a smaller share then what we think it is?).