Earlier this morning, our team was waxing on about Google’s (GOOG) record share price, and whether the company would maintain its dominance for years to come. We got to talking about big-shot online players of the past, and I mentioned that a lot of the top sites from years ago are now either gone or, worse, forgotten. So, when I came across Max Freiert’s recent post on the Compete blog, “Internet Allstars ’01: Where are they now?“, I felt vindicated.
As you can see, not only has almost every site on the list (save for Google and a few others) dropped considerably, there’s (obviously) no sign of many of today’s top players. No Facebook. No MySpace. No Wikipedia. No Craigslist. In fact, a lot of folks around here were surprised to see that Google came in at #12 — which seems pretty high, although this was when they started to get popular.
Say what you will about “attention” as a metric; it still shows that being the Web’s “next big thing” isn’t necessarily a goal worth having. (No offense to Neopets.com, but free cartoon screen saver downloads don’t quite have the “wow”-factor they used to.) Six trips around the Sun may not be a long time in human-years, but in Internet-years, it’s a lifetime.
When one company owns 40% of the market for online advertising, it’s just not sustainable (30% would be a much healthier number). Google may be one of the most important companies of this Internet era, but let’s face it: they don’t have the assets or a General Motors or the customer loyalty of, say, Wal-Mart. The other search engines are innovating faster. And, let’s not forget, Microsoft will go to great lengths to steal advertising market share.
Online, success means running a marathon, not sprinting to the top. As we’ve said since 2001, beware of selling yourself short on traffic.
What do you think? Will Google be the top dog in another six years?