A few months ago, just before my first daughter was born, my husband hooked up a wireless network in our home so that I could work comfortably from the couch with my laptop. Initially, this was simply a matter of convenience; rather than sitting at an uncomfortable desk in my home office, I could stretch out on our comfy sofa and continue to get some work done. However, in a matter of weeks, I realized just how much I'd come to rely on the ability to have instant access to the Web's chief utility: search.
For the last decade, I've turned to the Web on a regular basis to look up information. I used the Web to find a recipe, to get weather reports or to check movie times. These days, with a cable modem and a laptop in my living room, I find that I rely on the Web even more heavily.
Just this week, I was shopping on Amazon.com for some books for my newborn daughter. I'm an avid reader and especially enjoy quality children's literature. I'd always planned to build up a nice library for my daughter, both to have books to read to her, and to have books for her to read as she gets older. As I typed in a few favorite that I remembered from my childhood, Amazon's wonderful search feature continuously listed suggestions of other books that I might like, which resulted in me recalling even more of my favorite books from childhood. The power of Amazon's search feature resulted in me adding 24 books to my "wish list" rather than 6. Not only is that powerful marketing on the part of Amazon.com, but it's a power search feature for a user.
On any given day, I find myself turning to Google or Yahoo! at least a half a dozen times to look up something that I never would have been able to find out otherwise. From finding a long-lost friend to researching a vehicle purchase to Christmas shopping, or even finding out the name of an actress on the show I'm watching at that moment...the infinite reach of online search opens up windows of information that we never would have dreamed possible just 15 years ago.
The future of search and the future of commerce are closely tied together, and Search Engine Guide guest author Gord Hotchkiss does an excellent job of addressing this issue in his article: All Roads Lead Online: Convergence and the Future of Advertising. Hotchkiss believes that search will have a "profound and cataclysmic effects" on nearly all forms of business and that the advertising industry will be at the forefront of those changes. The article is well worth a read, especially for those involved in online commerce or advertising.
December 13, 2004
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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