Enterprise Search Vendor Web Site Traffic

March 24, 2011

I did some poking around on Compete.com. You plug in the url of a major search vendor and you get a traffic report. There’s no charge. Here’s the traffic report for the Autonomy.com Web site. The company has a high profile and revenues that match its market size. You can see that Autonomy, based on Compete.com data, is in the 10,000 to 20,000 unique range. This type of traffic is pretty good in my opinion.


If you plug in a vendor with a slightly smaller market footprint—for instance, Coveo—here’s the traffic report for that site. Compete data which are certainly not definitive reports this traffic pattern:


The Coveo Web site is pulling about 3,000 uniques over the last quarter of 2010 which appears to be an average of the up and down in the Compete data.

What happens if you search for vendors with even more lower profiles. I plugged in Dieselpoint.com (a vendor which has gone quiet in the last few months), Brainware (a paper to searchable index system) , and Vivisimo (the information optimization company). What I learned was that Vivisimo (the green line) mounted a marketing and public relations push that spiked the company into Autonomy traffic territory. But Vivisimo has dropped below 10,000 uniques.


What do I make of the Compete.com data?

First, the data are useful for broad comparisons. Most of the usage data generated by third parties has quite a margin for error. These outputs make it possible to see that a big outfit like Autonomy can be challenged when a smaller firm mounts a PR push. The problem for the smaller firm, if I understand the data in the Compete outputs, is sustaining a high level of traffic.

Second, it is pretty clear that enterprise search vendors are not in what I would call high traffic territory. My view of this is that enterprise search and the other even less well known buzzwords like customer support and eDiscovery are going to become a big part of search vendor marketing because these terms might have more magnetism. Here’s a Compete chart for Recommind (eDiscovery and enterprise search), Clearwell Systems (the outfit with the “rocket docket” phrase), and Kcura (an eDiscovery company generating some buzz now, according to one of my sources). You can see in the chart below, the spike for Clearwell, which is close to 5,000 uniques according to Compete. The other vendors are in the modest traffic range.


Third, enterprise search vendors are going to have to find a way to generate sales leads beyond a traditional Web site. My hunch is that most of the search vendors are betting that their participation in trade shows, their direct sales efforts, and their partnership relationships will produce leads and then revenue. The Web site is or has become a chunk of brochureware.

Bottomline: none of the vendors whose names I plugged into Compete are in Lady Gaga territory. That accolade belongs to Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Unfortunately these are not the clicks for each vendor’s enterprise search offering. But the disparity is evident. IBM is big but comes in third in the Compete data millions of uniques behind Google and Microsoft. Google is the big traffic outfit. Though the data are not definitive, Google is not really challenged by Microsoft, based on these Compete data.


What is interesting is that each of these giant companies has, according to Compete, a flat line in traffic. Maybe in a few months, the IBM Jeopardy campaign for Watson will produce a bump. But for now, the modest traffic to enterprise search vendors raises the question, “How much are these firms spending on their Web sites?” The smaller companies appear to produce much more erratic traffic, based on the Compete data. I will have to think about the implications of these smaller company reports. The question is, “Will Google’s fiddling with relevance have much of an impact on the smaller enterprise search vendors’ Web traffic?” The big sites seem to be the most stable, but without access to the Compete data set, the smoothing may be a numerical recipe, not a reflection of a nice, straight line. Oh, before complaining to me about Compete, run your own comparisons using other vendors’ services. I used the free version of Compete and can make no definitive statements about the data’s accuracy. Queries were run on Compete on March 7, 2011, so run your own comparisons because the Compete data may be refreshed when you read this blog post.

Stephen E Arnold, March 24, 2011



4 Responses to “Enterprise Search Vendor Web Site Traffic”

  1. BDanforth on March 24th, 2011 7:39 am

    I think this is a fresh way to look at the vendors in the space, good piece. I really enjoyed reading it, keep up the good work.

    The one comment that I would like to make is about looking at vendors that sell more than just search, such as Autonomy, Microsoft, Google, IBM.

    While Autonomy is a leader in the Enterprise Search space, they have a broad range of products that go beyond search, such as TeamSite, WorkSite, 2 Records Management products, Zantaz, Virage, and more. While I don’t think they disclose the revenue breakdown, I suspect that their pure Enteprise Search business is less than 50% of their revenue, which is just a guess. Maybe the same % can be used for their enterprise search traffic.

    If you were to compare Autonomy’s search only traffic to other pure search vendors the gap in traffic would be much smaller than your numbers reflect.

    You defnitely referenced this in your comparison of Google, Microsoft, and IBM. However, I do think there are free analytic sites (maybe Google Analytics) that can tell you the traffic on subsections of a site.

    I would be curious to see Google Search Appliance traffic: http://www.google.com/enterprise/search/gsa.html

    and Microsoft’s FAST search traffic:

    Good piece, I enjoyed reading it.


  2. Stephen E. Arnold on March 28th, 2011 2:27 pm


    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    Stephen E Arnold, March 28, 2011

  3. Penton Plunge? : Beyond Search on April 6th, 2011 12:13 am

    […] about traffic to enterprise search vendors’ Web sites. If you want to review those data, read “Enterprise Search Vendor Web Traffic.” The main point of the write up was that I used Compete.com data, which I viewed as indicative, […]

  4. Google and Search : Beyond Search on May 11th, 2011 10:24 am

    […] I have had a couple of irate phone calls about the Compete.com data. The particular story is “Enterprise Search Vendor Web Site Traffic.” The data are bad news for search vendors in general. Traffic is pretty dismal, assuming the […]

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