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By Naseem Javed


Billions of pages going to trillions. Most of the information available online is replicated

again and again, then twisted, corrupted and re-entered. When one search question retrieves

one million answers, the system fails -- results have little or no value.


Now that the titans of e-commerce have been identified, search engines are leading

the way for consumers online. At the same time, serious questions are emerging related

to the efficacy of these search engines, among them "When will the search engines collide?"

and, "How soon and why could this happen?"


If search engines are the principal devices for business access, then today's search results,

which often include a great deal of irrelevant information, are a serious problem. Imagine

looking at a stock ticker tape, where you get lottery numbers, weather reports, and airline

schedules nicely arranged in matching fonts, along with the stock prices. How long would

such a product last? Not one second.


Ambiguity, Clutter

In any research project, if the data flow has too strong of a current and, as a result, constantly

shifts the timeline and/or alters the main question, then the results will have little or no value.

"Freeze-frame performance" is almost impossible on search engines and the answers to

a query can be confusing, or buried too deep.


Should the Internet be divided into categories like "E-Commerce for Business" and "Chit-chat

for the General Population," perhaps?Today, finding a solution to this problem may seem an

impossible task, but then, only a decade ago, the Internet itself was practically non-existent.


Enormity Factor

The general availability of data is just too large to fathom. Billions of pages going to trillions.

Who has the time or the interest to sift through all this? Most of the information available online

is replicated again and again, then twisted, corrupted and re-entered again and again. When one

search question retrieves one million answers, the system fails -- results have little or no value.


Accessing the world's data via the Internet is still the best method, but cracks are beginning

to appear. Information is only powerful when it is cohesive, pertinent, precise and crystallized.

Otherwise, it's nothing but junk. This is what makes the difference between a small diamond

and a huge mountain.


Human Factor

Both the brain and the computer monitor are too small. Even with the largest screens, the mind

simply caves in when the number of hits found numbers in the thousands. Contrary to belief, the

human mind hasn't evolved at all in the last millennium; rather it seems to be regressing under

the burden of all this garbage information. Searching online is no longer easy, and it's getting

more and more time consuming.


Though search engines are still the best models, they're heading into an abyss. What would

happen if the world's 10 million libraries were assembled under one roof? It's great for a thousand

miles of shelving, but not practical for the human mind.


Now, when multi-billion dollar search technologies respond to queries and painstakingly screen

a trillion pages and cough up thousands of sites in seconds, then what? Does more results mean

more answers? No, it means more confusion, and the human effort expended in reading and sifting

through the garbage is going to add to our national debt. Ad revenues will shrink as the advertisers

begin to realize the state of the overly crowded, partially disconnected and heavily diluted marketplace.

This is like a single person wearing a t-shirt with a slogan in a stadium of 100,000 people, hoping

to attract the right customer. This is not an advertising model, it's a shot in the dark. It may be

cheap, but not a sure bet. We better a start new system right now.


Garbage Factor

Garbage in, garbage out. If loading up garbage continues to be part of the game, then the output

results will be the same. Let this be a victory for the freedom of speech and democracy, but the

purpose of searching is coming to a crossroad. Here, even Aristotle would agree that researching

has nothing to do with free speech. E-commerce searching is a fact-finding mission. It demands

precise answers. Right now, the search engine industry is going for the largest possible databases,

even at the risk of slowing down search results.


Established corporate identities with global clout may coast, but others with innovative ideas and

emerging technologies will have to cope with this immense load of landfill. When you're lost online,

even big-budget promotions won't help put you under the spotlight. Newer, unexposed e-commerce

identities are facing a make-or-break proposition.


Start Your Engines

Though it's often a misunderstood process, achieving success in e-commerce branding can be

relatively inexpensive. Unknown corporations can still succeed at bullet speed. But to do this they

need to have access to the next wave of extraordinary browsers. The race is on to create these browsers,

which will do everything, including making discreet selective contacts, conducting both general and specific

searches and enabling swift transactions, all while building three-dimensional purchasing profiles and

compiling them into wrap-sheets.


This will be the making of a true "online global bazaar" in living color. This will further accelerate global

communications and reduce time lag between ideas and reality. Businesses would heavily depend on

the power of URLs and make sure that they are properly structured and protected with global visibility.

Seek out the right expertise for corporate image, name identity and cyber-visibility issues and make sure

you don't confuse these with general branding and graphic talents. Check all in extremely fine details.


Meanwhile, the sluggish performance of image on e-commerce will make the creation of revised name identities

on the forefront.  Advertisers will continue to exhaust themselves in these massive landfills, and designing new

methods to reach customers will be an ongoing challenge. Formats will gradually start to change, and they could

re-emerge as a series of new search engine products and services. But all of this is unlikely to happen

quickly. Only a titanic collision would properly correct today's already outdated searching model.




Naseem Javed, author Naming for Power and also Domain Wars, is recognized as a world authority

on corporate image, name identities and cyber branding. Javed founded ABC Namebank, a consultancy he

established a quarter century ago, and conducts executive workshops on image and corporate visibility

issues. Contact him at