This fall, comScore and Ad Age reported that YouTube surpassed Yahoo as the second-largest search engine; within days, YouTube announced its new search advertising platform. What’s more, MySpace (563 million U.S. queries in October 2008, according to comScore) is a bigger search engine than both AOL (424 million) and Ask.com (362 million). Queries on eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon combined (980 million) nearly rival MSN.com (1.04 billion). source

Search fragmentation is here. The statistics above, from a post by David Berkowitz, and underscored by John Borthwith in his post, describe this phenomenon in greater detail.

My hypothesis is one big driver for this fragmentation of search is the increase of direct navigation to particular sites like Amazon, eBay and Craigslist. As users get to be more familiar with the web, they remember sites names more often and arrive there only to search, instead of using a general search engine either to navigate to the top level domain or find a page deeper in the tree.

The extension of this hypothesis is the average user on the internet will have a distribution of their top 7-10 most visted destinations (and for which they remember the URLs) to be something like the following:

  • 4 search engines:
  1. a general web engine
  2. an e-commerce engine
  3. a travel engine
  4. a video search engine
  • 1-2 social networking sites
  • 1-3 news outlets, including home pages or portal pages