We Are a Small Industry

I have been as Search Engine Strategies in Chicago for the past couple of days and I’ll have some specific search items to report later but for now I have been struck by how small we are as an industry. The search business is worth about 50-60 Bn this year with the bulk of that revenue for what is effectively a media buy going to Google, Yahoo and Bing. In dollar terms that’s more than is spent on Magazines and Newspapers put together in the US. The search business has roughly 8 major trade shows per year scattered through the big cities. I’m guessing most folk hard core in the business attend at least one show per year….some like me do multiple shows. SES Chicago is one of the larger shows and at a reasonable guess there are about 1,000 attendees with another hundred or so folks working the dozen or so booths in a small exhibit. Google employs about 34,000 Googlers, Yahoo and Bing maybe another 10,000 between them. So at a rough guess the entire industry employs maybe 60,000 people total…..each of whom commands about a million dollars of revenue each. Obviously it’s a massive over simplification but how many people work for the 2,000 significant magazines and 1,200 daily and 5,000 weekly newspapers I wonder. It’s striking how much power and influence search has in all aspects of our lives…and relatively speaking it’s controlled by a tiny handful of people….the other word for that is a monopoly….right?

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