Search Engine Observations: Changing Channels On The Internet

Coming soon to a screen near you! Internet Channels!

Concept: Let’s divide the Internet into channels the same as television

  • Internet A for Adult
  • Internet B for Business
  • Internet C for Corporate
  • E for Education
  • F for Food
  • H for History
  • S for Science
  • T for Technical

    …. You get the idea.

Don’t like your search results?

Can’t find what you want from a general search engine?

Change channels. It could all be done with a simple browser alpha bar. Simply select the appropriate channel, then browse through the sub categories until you find what you want. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to sift through mountains of unrelated materials. Search engines should love it. Much easier to classify things. Most engines do this type of categorization by using select words and phrases, but not by entire category.

Some of the new “clustering” search engines are heading this way by provided closely related subjects along with initial search results. The old Northern Light engine also gave you related categories. It was great.

A resource such as a Portal or Vortel are also good examples of channeling on the Internet, These types of sites tend to have many similar resources all relating to the same topic within the same web site.

From a business perspective another benefit to the idea of making channels out of the Internet is the increase in value it would bring to web site real estate. (I.E. category specific sites) Suppose someone came up to you and said they could make you 5000 dollars within the next year and all you had to do was give a little piece of your web site property away for some banner advertising. Would you do it?

Most web site owners I know would give it a try. Hoist a banner for an advertiser. They pay you for the referrals or via click-through rates. Viola, instant revenue. The reason the advertiser would want to do this is simple. The main channel is, for example, dedicated to science. Within that channel you have a resource portal dedicated to everything about microscopes. Buyers, sellers, manufacturers, education, everything related to microscopes. Suddenly the manufacturers have a targeted audience to which to sell their products and schools a good resource to check out pricing.

Let’s face it, if I weren’t interested in microscopes I would not visit this site, but that’s good, because I am what the industry would call, an ‘unqualified’ visitor. A site specifically dedicated to microscopes would attract ‘qualified’ visitors, thus providing a better vehicle for marketing directly to a specific target market. A much better value proposition for the advertiser. This is precisely why the real estate value of the microscope web site would increase. Focused target market.

The Google ad words program and several affiliate programs are all based on this very premise with a few variables thrown into the mix. For the most part however, you simply choose the advertisements which use similar keywords as the subject matter on your page and you get paid for the click-throughs. Simple enough and for the most part it works for both parties.

It does not however, do much for the searcher of information. They may come to your site and they may click on that advertisement and yes, you may get 5 cents for it, but at what cost to you? You’ve just sent them away from your site. Let me repeat that point. You have just sent them away! Perhaps even to a competitor.

A much better system would be if all the advertisers and related sites were within the same ‘channel’ and each related to the other via click through tracking. This way the searcher gets closer and closer to what they are looking for while the channel’s co-related sites get to retain the targeted traffic, within the channel. This would be a channel at its best. Share the wealth and the traffic.

Dividing the Internet into channels is not an new concept. I recall some serious discussion on this very subject back in ’94 or ’95. Some of the visionaries quickly surmised that once businesses started to show up on the Internet there went the neighborhood. There was talk of, at the very least, creating an Internet A for Academia and an Internet B for Business, so the two would not intermix and cause confusion for those seeking non business related information. Perhaps with the exponential growth rate of the net and our collective inability to neither control it nor categorize it effectively, we may be approaching the perfect time to revisit this concept.

I for one would like to click on search results within the ‘gardening channel’ and actually be able to find information about roses without having to wade through dozens of sites all unrelated to the subject. Gypsy Rose Lee, The Mary Rose – Henry VIII’s warship, Rose Hulman, Black Rose Gothic Clothing Emporium, Charlie Rose, etc., etc., etc.

When I don’t like what I’m watching on Television, I simply change the channel. It would be great to be able to do the same thing on the Internet. Until then, pass me the remote.