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Early Search Engines

The web did not have sophisticated search engines when it began. The most advanced information gathers of the day primitively matched file names. You had to know the name of the file you were looking for to find anything. The first file that matched was returned. There was no such thing as search relevancy. The lack of relevancy is what lead to the early popularity of directories such as Yahoo!.

Overture was launched as a pay per click search engine in 1998. While the Overture system was profitable most portals were still losing money. The targeted ads they (as well as Google AdWords) delivered grew in popularity and finally created a functional profit generating business model which powered large scale general search engines.

Many search engines such as AltaVista and later Inktomi were industry leaders for a period of time, but the rush to market and lack of sophistication associated with online marketing prevented these primitive machines from having functional business models.

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