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?