26 Years of SEN & Counting
 by Stephen Mahaney

26 Years of SEN & Counting — by Stephen Mahaney

This 26 years of SEN month's issue completes our 26th year of publishing SEN.

Back in February 1997, when we published the first issue of The Search Engine Secrets Newsletter (which morphed into Search Engine News the following July), I had no idea we'd still be publishing in the year 2023.

Even more astonishing is my realization that some of our members weren't even born back in 1997 when all this started. In fact, anyone currently under the age of 33 has no idea what the early era of search engines was really all about.

At 7 years old in 2002 you may not have noticed Google rising through the ranks as they battled Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, Yahoo, Go, Overture, Ask Jeeves, LookSmart, MSN, and Webcrawler – just to name a few — for supremacy.

And, yes, back then we covered each and every one of them in one form or another. And, yes, it truly was the wild west of the early world wide web. Fun times.

Of course, the big difference today is that it's only Google. With over 90% of the market share of search, they have what is arguably the tightest monopoly in tech (although Amazon might have something to say about that).

The other difference is that Google is not anymore actually what I would call a "search engine" ... they abdicated that role a long time ago. No, they are an arbitrator of ecommerce winners and losers evidenced by the fact that search results these day will always favor a commercial entity over an academic one when given the choice. After all, ecommerce is where the money is and Google is all about MONEY.

So, if you missed the halcyon days of (actual) search, you really did miss the 'good-ole-days.' On the other hand, if you were there, then you know what I'm talking about AND you recognize the difference between what search really could and should be verses that thing we have now that "youngsters" call...