(The digg/slashdot/techmeme wave is subsiding, so I’m re-posting this now.)
Did you spot the sponsored link? Look at result #5. See the “Sponsored by: www.walmart.com/”? That’s right, result #5 in the search results is an ad.
Strangely enough, just a few days ago I did the query [wii] recently on Pronto, the new shopping search engine from IAC. When I did that search, I got two sponsored results, but look at the third result:
The description looks like it’s for a game, but the picture looked like it was for a book. So I clicked on that result, and got a mishmash of products:
If you did a search for [wii] on a search engine, would you prefer to get a) ads mingled in with the results, or b) have the first result be strappy shoes, stained glass, and books? Joking aside, it makes the point that search is hard, and doing it well is a challenge for any company.