Answers.com Draws Attention to Google Dance

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For years advertisers have whined about the so-called “Google Dance” the search engine giant performs every so often to adjust the algorithms dictating how search results are organized. When Google bothers to acknowledge their ire, a shrug is pretty much the response advertisers get. It’s all about improving the user experience, Google will say, and if advertisers or Web publishers get lost in the shuffle, so be it.

Well, this time ’round a more significant player than the typical SEM/SEO firms, small-time ecommerce outfits and lead gen/affiliate guys has drawn attention to the GooDance. Answers Corporation, which just so happens to be the default provider of definitions linked from Google results pages, is blaming the search engine’s algorithm switch-ups for a big drop in search traffic.

Yesterday Answers put out a press statement warning investors that it’s seen a fall of around 28 percent in search traffic since Google’s most recent algorithm alteration.

Recognizing Google does the shuffle often, Answers CEO Bob Rosenschein said in the statement, “We are working diligently to analyze and address the recent algorithm change….We will update investors on the financial impact of this development during our upcoming Q2 earnings conference call on August 13.”

But as a colleague here at ClickZ noted earlier today, Q2 2007 numbers shouldn’t be affected by something that apparently took place just a week ago. (The second quarter ended June 30.)
There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not Answers will go through with its Dictionary.com buy considering its ad revenues will deflate if traffic is down; that will result in less pages viewed and, thus, less ad inventory.

Rosenschein attempted to cut off such concerns at the pass, noting “This change only demonstrates the sound business rationale behind our agreement to purchase Dictionary.com, because it underscores a primary motivation for the deal: to secure a steady source of direct traffic and mitigate our current dependence on search engine algorithms.”

In other words, we’re sick and tired of having to rely on Google to bring in eyeballs, so why not buy ’em. When the company announced the proposed acquisition, it noted “key benefits” of the purchase would include three times more pageviews and more guaranteed “direct traffic.” Answers said in its acquisition announcement, “Over 85% of Lexico’s traffic is direct from end users or people searching specifically for the term ‘dictionary’ in search engines. The resulting shift in traffic mix should significantly reduce Answers.com’s current reliance on search engine algorithms.”

Well, I guess all we can do is wait and see….

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