Snap.com – How to reach a million people for free

In 1998, Bill Gross started a revolutionary new search engine called GoTo which allowed marketers to pay for search placement. GoTo became Overture, created the business of paid search, and was acquired by Yahoo. Google quickly adopted the paid search model, grew to become the largest search engine on the web and now stands side-by-side with Yahoo as one of the most prominent Internet properties in the world.

Bill is never short on ideas and moved on to create Compete.com (thank you Bill) and then Snap.com — a new search engine striving to "deliver a step-function change in the search experience".

We are happy to report that Snap, after a rocky start, is slowly beginning to emerge as a real Search alternative in a market dominated by Google and Yahoo.

The recent success of Snap.com has been driven by two critical strategic moves made by the Snap team.

  1. Snap basically shut down in early ’06 to overhaul its experience. The first version of the Snap site was a little too dense and technical to attract a broad audience. People came, they clicked, they left and never came back. Snap simplified the interface and re-launched in May ’06.
  2. Snap created a free site plug-in called "Snap Preview Anywhere" which allows users to scroll over links and preview a site prior to click. The preview has an embedded search box that allows people to automatically conduct a search through Snap. Platforms, such as WordPress and TypePad have adopted the Snap plug-in. The brilliance of this product is that Snap receives free marketing and referrals for any sites using its plug-in.

Since relaunching Snap has taken off and surpassed the one million visitor milestone in January "˜07. I originally suspected that the burst in traffic was fueled by drive-by visitors who had come across the Snap Preview plug-in, but the intensity on Snap.com, as indicated by page views per visitor, has increased dramatically.

Snap has a long way to go before they begin showing up in Search Market Share reports; however, we applaud the turnaround and hope to see continued progress.

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