Technologizer: Technology’s Most Magnificent Failures

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By Harry McCracken

Life, as John F. Kennedy once helpfully pointed out, isn’t fair. Neither is the market for technology products. There’s no law that says that the best products win: The history of tech is pockmarked with breakthrough hardware, software, and services that were dismal failures in the marketplace. (It’s also rife with mediocre products that became massive bestsellers, (insert your own example here.)

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Google and the Price of Oil

We spend a lot of money on advertising and a lot of money in search. Just got off the line with our advertising guru, and in rough numbers, we burn over 6 times as much money with Google than we burn with Microsoft and Yahoo COMBINED. That’s an astronomical difference between Google and the rest. Furthermore, we have tried to spend more money with both Yahoo and Microsoft, and neither has enough relevant search results to allow us to increase our spend.

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Search Scout: No Merit Badge

Search Scout is one of the features of the Gator Advertising Information Network (GAIN). Gator has a partnership with Overture Services to display keyword-based text ads. The GAIN background software monitors the web pages you visit and the information you enter into search forms. If GAIN determines that you are doing a web search, or you are visiting sites that are associated with particular keywords, Search Scout kicks into action and displays Overture advertising or other results that match the keywords.

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Yahoo – On the Dark Side

There was a time that Darth Vader was one with the force, but alas, he went to the dark side. And there was a time that Yahoo was the brightest star in the Internet constellation. My browser favorites are chock full of Yahoo sites, including Yahoo Maps and Yahoo Yellow Pages. My home page is My Yahoo, and I save all of my contacts in the Yahoo address book so I can access them from both my PC and my cell phone. There may be better solutions out there, but in almost all cases Yahoo was the first.

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