Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A9 The Dark Horse

I've always said that A9 are the dark horse in the search engine race. At the time, I would point out how they're powered by Google but, by gosh, you can see how well they data mine. Amazon know exactly what sort of book you like. Imagine if Amazon made the step from being Powered By Google to being Powered By Amazon. Imagine if Amazon put their marketing machine behind A9.

In many ways Amazon have put their marketing machine behind A9. There are discounts for users who search with it - a token search at that, just one and you could get Pi Shared (pi/2) discount from Amazon.com (no joy if you're in the UK or elsewhere; Amazon really needs to get joint up). The Amazon site does promote A9 quite heavily.

We just have not seen A9 take off in the way that it might. I have heard some people ask; "Why use A9, why not just use Google?". People say this about a lot of search engines but with A9 the point was that it was powered by Google, the added extras that Amazon had added to A9 were not enough to give it enough in the way of Unique Selling Points.

The change to Windows Live in both unexpected and expected. It's one of those changes that I didn't predict coming because I simply didn't think about it. A professional SEO does not think about A9 for very many minutes in the day. The change makes sense though. The move to Windows Live gives Amazon a couple of angles;
  • More people will use A9 than will use Windows Live's raw search.

  • Microsoft would have paid a hefty dose.

  • A strong hand to negotiate with Google when it times to negotiate. They've proven they'll change search providers if they want.
  • You might even wonder if Amazon, world class data miners, are now in the position to compare and contrast Google semi-raw data with Windows Live semi-raw data.

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