Ahrefs Announces Plan for New Search Engine

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Link: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/ahrefs-search-engine/300573/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=twitter-auto-publish#close

Pretty dumb idea. They should focus on what they are doing which is great...

What do you guys think?
Looks to me more like a traffic leak from Ahrefs.

This will easily be picked up by all SEO blogs, and maybe some tech and software blogs as well.

I doubt that they'll make a new search engine. But what I don't doubt is that more people in the tech world will know about their software because of this stunt.
 

CCarter

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This is going to fail simply because of one thing - it doesn’t help the end users who are searching. This approach is simply to help publishers. If you look at their complaints - none of them are from a user perspective. Users do not care whether Google’s answerbox answers their question or a website.

To be quite frank I would rather Google answer the question than have to click through these websites that have 100 different pop ups, scroll in ads, on-exit pop ups - and those are legit news sites, imagine all the shady sites out there.

Google will be defeated when someone else can provide better value for the searcher who is looking for answers. Crying about it from the publisher side is ridiculous. Google doesn’t owe anyone any free traffic. If they allow you in their index then you can get traffic, but nothing is owed to anyone.

Bottomline - this will fail cause it doesn’t add value or create a better experience for the end user. It’s like people trying to make bitcoin go mainstream, it will never happen since there is no real reason for the consumer to - cash and cards are faster and less complicating that some alphanumeric hash number wallet thingy.
 
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I thought it a PR exercise as well, however, upon further reflection, how many people doubted Google when it first launched with it's odd empty page design and when Yahoo was so dominant?

Also, were people SO upset with Yahoo they were desperate for an alternative? (I honestly don't know as I believe at the time my browsing consisted mainly image searching female anatomy)

From my perspective, search doesn't appear to be a zero sum game. We can see this by popping DuckDuckGo in Google Trends and look at a multi-year growth trend.

Every time I see growth data on Google, from revenue to total employee head count I'm astounded by how rapidly that growth took place. Not only did they challenge Yahoo and win but they did it in a relatively short period of time. Google only incorporated in 1998.

The time aspect is another thing that Ahrefs has going for it. Look how fast they climbed to the top as (arguably) the best link research tool in the market? Moz has been around since 2004. SEMRush was founded in 2008. Ahrefs about page says they launched in 2011. Their growth within the SEO space shows at the very least they're pretty damn good at making a disruptive product.

I'm not saying it's a sure thing, nor do I know the industry enough to forecast jack shit, but I do like to gut check my immediate reactions.
 

turbin3

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By the time a company reaches 70%+ market saturation... the game is over (lettuce be honest, it's like 85%+ LOL). I don't think people understand how monumental of a barrier it is to overcome a market leader with that level of adoption.

At that point, your product becomes a part of human culture. In effect, to change the game, you would actually have to change human nature. Market disruption like that only happens once in a blue moon.

It almost never happens when people talk about how they're going to do it. They just DO it and change the game.

It's not impossible, of course, much the same as believing you'll be able to colonize Mars in 5 years isn't "impossible"...




We vultures now.

I'm reminded of the quote from Linus Torvalds in my signature. It always concerns me when a CEO expends effort, telling me what they're gonna do and how much better it's going to be.

More power to them for trying at something that is guaranteed to fail...I guess. That's a great opportunity for them to draw resources and focus away from their main products. Not to mention, it's just straight up off-brand.

<savage>
If I was a competitor, I would LOVE hearing that one of my peers decided to "take on Google". That could be a solid 1-2 year span of diminished product development for the main business. That's "hoist the black flag" territory right there.
</savage>
 

CCarter

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If I was a competitor, I would LOVE hearing that one of my peers decided to "take on Google".
I was thinking that in the back of my mind when I read it and told @eliquid that they justed opened the door to their demise... so much wasted effort in a completely backwards direction.

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart pekple into thinking they can’t lose.” - Bill Gates

Ahrefs has been successful enough they now believe they can win at anything they think about.

The biggest red flag is their current customers are marketers, yet their new customers will be consumers. They don’t have any wins under their belt going after consumers.

But I hope they really do go after this venture. :smile:
 
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"let me google it"........neeed I say more.
When the giant you are trying to take on has this level of brand awareness, just don't even bother with it, there are easier ways to burn money. it's not like there isn't any competition out there already and with facebook having declared that they want to be the internet then yeah erhm good luck to them.

I wonder who will buy the assets from the bancrupcy waiting to happen.
 

mj22

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Fuck being reliant on the GORG, there are other ways to skin that cat.
 
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I totally and completely disagree with most of the points in this thread.
I think its going to be wickedly successful.
Lack of success with main stream consumers isnt relevant.
Advances in computing, and database technology have reduced the barriers to entry to build and maintain a quality index enough that they can make a killing just by running away with the best SEM tools market.

With a content index and some more time they can raise the value of their metrics substantially and lock up the tools market.


A fundamental business reality right now is that just having the core infrastructure to run a general web search engine offers many specialized use cases that grant major strategic advantage across a broad spectrum of industries that utilize data analysis. Its tough to quantify the value of these with out actually having one, but there's definitely a market for indexed data.

Whether or not they can talk a bunch of publishers into letting them be their big hero isn't really relevant. By building tech targeted in that direction they're going to go many valuable places. This is very important news for the industry. Anyone that wants to stay competitive is going to basically have to follow them down the full blown search engine route.

As a competitor I think its a good thing that someones trying to take the industry in this direction.
 

CCarter

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As a competitor I think its a good thing that someones trying to take the industry in this direction.
How are they going to get people to search using it though? Simply getting the publishers on board won't do much if there is no one using the search engine.
 
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How are they going to get people to search using it though? Simply getting the publishers on board won't do much if there is no one using the search engine.
I don't think they will. I think its probably going to be a total fail on the consumer side.
Assuming they don't get crucified with regulatory hurdles they might be able to build a niche customer segment. There are already a lot of people trying to do that. Usually it involves something something block-chain.


The cutting the publishers in is a nice model, but all you're effectively doing at that point is running a premium digital library. Copyright holders want to be the library owners and gate keepers. Even offering only to take 10% isnt going to get their cooperation.

I think they're still going to make a killing, because the infrastructure has insane strategic value.

Building a search engine requires a content index.
A content index is hella useful. It tells you where you can earn roi on content investments more effectively than people with out access to the data. The differential compared to other methods is substantial enough that it creates a major strategic advantage. AKA a profit taking opportunity.

Assuming they can dumb down the value proposition enough for the corporate drones they will have a category killer tool advantage until somebody else catches up or or google / microsoft/ amazon / apple decide they want to start making internal tools public.

A content index allows them to undermine the value proposition of a lot of existing market research tools, even non direct competitors, because it opens up new data driven approaches. These approaches reduce the risks associated with content investment in a substantial enough way that those with out access will be even less able to compete.

With many exceptions, I think the future of repeatable digital marketing success is going to start with paying for index access. If ahrefs owns the quality end of the indexes market they will extract a heck of a lot of rent. Copying their infrastructure is non trivial. If they build a full size content index, its a hell of a moat.
 
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builder

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There's an interesting thread on HN about Dropbox. It is interesting to see what people thought the founders should be doing. There's plenty more of that all over the internet.

I have learned over the years that judging the success or failure an idea, based on how it looks to me when it starts, is downright idiotic. I don't know their vision, I only know what they have put out in the public domain. How can I pass judgement?

Based on the information that is publicly available:

Anything like this has to solve the chicken and egg problem.

They already have the chicken: Publishers who are desperate for another distribution channel for their thin content and affiliate sites banned or ignored by Google SERPs. Basically, the Google rejects and aspirants of the publishing world.

To get consumers (the users who query search engines), they have to find a way.

Alexa had the same problem and they solved it with their browser toolbar, which was installed on consumers' machines. If Ahrefs plan to do something similar, there will be a lot of overlap between publishers and consumers. Just like Alexa. That may be enough to test things out and expand or pivot.

If they get real consumers (non-publishers), that will be a game changer.
 

CCarter

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Anything like this has to solve the chicken and egg problem.
The thing is all successful service or products solve a consumer/customer problem first and that is their main focus. It’s not impossible, but companies with billions of dollars at their disposal knew that and attempted it - and failed. At least failed in terms of being better than Google.

In the Press Release content it talks about the faults of Google, which leads to everyone understanding the #1 competitor they are going after is Google.

Yet it doesn’t address how they are going to create a better experience for the user, those same users Google makes 95% of it’s money off of. That egg scenario is clearly missing, everyone else talking about everything non-consumer is is irrelevant. No wins or even plans to go after consumers while they attack Google, will lead to failure.

Similar to Bitcoin, people didn’t bother trying to solve the egg with why mainstream people would use it over cash or credit - which are 10x easier that a retarded hashed wallet, and here we are 10 years and 2 months later with no mass adoption.

Google took less than a year for mass adoption into the mainstream.

When technology makes people’s lives easier or faster they get adopted. If you see new tech, a service, or product that doesn’t hit one or both of those solutions in the marketplace it fails, time and time again when it comes to mass adoption.

Small niche wins are fine, but DuckDuckGo isn’t winning on the consumer end. If I was suddenly getting 100 people a day from DuckDuckGo, I would be the first one to start concentrating on optimising my site for the Duck. Since there is no talk of DuckDuckGo SEO - almost ever, there is your answer. Same with Bing. The King is Google, that crystal clear to anyone here.

For Google they came out with a clean interface and better search results, and faster experience, they hit both ‘fast’ and ‘easy’ checkboxes when compared to current solutions. You can clearly see HOW Google solved the consumer side of the equation.

You can’t say the same for Bitcoin or Ahrefs’ “new search engine” cause all they talk about is the wrong side of the equation. Now if both those techs come with a clear reason on how it’s faster or easier than they might have a chance.

There are rules to gaining mass adoption with consumer end similar to the law of physics = Easier or Faster. You can try to go against the laws of physics, but lets just say it might be best not to put any eggs in that basket.

As marketers you guys need to understand the fundamentals to gaining mass adoption, even if you are on the B2B side of the equation like I am.

With that said - I’m going to take my chicken to-go.
 

eliquid

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So you're telling me a service that built itself up on the back of Google, which also has outdated metrics that are easily gamed by other SEO's, is going to build a better search engine than Google? A company that goes around stealing ideas from others because they can't innovate on their own to boot.

Ok. Yeah.

Maybe they need to fix how their metrics work first, before jumping into a deathmatch with the one company that basically was the foundation of how their company grew in the first place ( and has an unlimited war chest of money ).

Oy Vey
 

Jared

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Given how successful ahrefs has been, and how they've bootstrapped their way into being arguably thee SEO tool, I'm not going to doubt them. They've clearly got some smart motherbleepers working there.

I'm also not sure the "they won't surpass Google, so what's the point?" argument holds much water. Do they have to surpass Google for it to be a success? Seems like an awfully high measuring stick to me.

It was mentioned earlier by secretagentdad, but ahrefs already crawls the web like a beast, second to only Google, apparently:



This should seriously cut down on the financial risk, no? I mean, they're already crawling the web. All they're doing is getting more use out of the data they already collect. Same data. Additional revenue stream. Bad thing?

As for what they can offer the end user to give them an advantage over Google . . . they seem to be focusing a lot on trust and transparency. I think people are underestimating just how much the public has grown to distrust Google.

One of the main beneficiaries of the public's mistrust of Google seems to be DuckDuckGo. I know I see it being promoted a lot, and it looks like that promotion is paying off:

Search Engine Journal: DuckDuckGo Traffic Up 50% from Last Year, Hits New Record of 30M Daily Searche (October 2018)

DuckDuckGo charts their growth:



They've nearly tripled their daily searches since the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, which is right around the time people began realizing just how slimy Google is. And that's based almost entirely on being promoted as trustworthy -- outside of that benefit, DuckDuckGo is pretty mediocre.

I have no doubts ahrefs can build a much better search engine then DuckDuckGo, and probably Bing, too. If they can gain the public's trust, and implement a few other useful features, I think they can succeed.

We'll see.
 

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Attacking the leader publicly is a common strategy. Most companies keep their real tactics private. So I guess we will just wait and see.

P.S.: Bing and DuckDuckGo are profitable.

A company that goes around stealing ideas from others because they can't innovate on their own to boot.
What idea did they steal? (Serious question)
 

Golan

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I think they can succeed. They already own some serious index. And they can count on a part of "protesting segment" who are happy to search wherever but Google. Like, i use Zoho sheets instead of Google. I would use Duck if it would give me results comparable to Google. Maybe Ahrefs will.
 

GarrettGraff

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Unless they have a new and revolutionary way of using Search, I don't see how they plan to compete. I also believe the amount of resources it will take to work on this project is going to seriously detract from their ability to manage AHREFs properly..