Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ananzi 0, Google 2

I used to be a big fan of Ananzi, the South African search engine. The search technology was better than Yahoo, and they focused on the web sites where I live. But that was 8 years ago, and a lot has happened on the Internet since then. They were bought out by Braby's, the people who try to compete with the Yellow Pages and Map Studio.
One would expect that their new owners would realise that in order to compete they need to be better than the competition. They don't. "We're not Google", said one senior employee. What a loser! Unfortunately he is right.
The first difference is Google's famous clean pages. Ananzi's pages are a mess, with random flashing banner ads getting in the way, and too many other distractions. Take a look at the screen shot I took the other day.

The banner ads almost drown out the search results. In fact, only two search results ore visible on the screen, in the bottom left hand corner. Evertything else is advertising or screen clutter. It's obvious they consider their customer to be the advertiser, not the web site user. As a result, they don't get as many users. The problem is, that don't keep their customers happy either.
The other problem is that they charge for advertising per month, not per click. So the advertiser gets ripped off, because their ads get progressively more expensive as the number of users goes down. The ripoff is even more complete because they can't or won't tell their prospective advertisers what kind of traffic comes to their site. So you sign up as an advertiser, expecting one thing, and once you discover the actual state of affairs, it's too late to pull out, because you're already locked into a contract.
They don't want to fix the problem, so they'll never get any better. It must be tough when you're making millions.

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