Yandex App Service: More Evidence Search Is Not Enough

October 17, 2013

I have been sifting through decades of reports about search vendors. As my team and I review versions of reports we have sold to azure chip outfits, slick MBAs, and the generally confused management teams—one stark “truth” emerged. You can follow our free analyses of search vendors on Xenky at

Search is not enough. Not enough magnetism to generate revenue sufficient to maintain the most complex service in the world. Not enough profit to satisfy even the most patient and deep pocketed mother or venture firm. Not enough sizzle to keep the folks turning up for uninspected chicken. Just not enough. Chasing big money with search may be one of those quests some undertake without broader awareness of the difficulty ahead.


The search entrepreneur can triumph over search. A happy quack to

I read “Search Engine Giant Yandex Launches Cocaine, A Cloud Service To Compete With Google App Engine” and realized that Yandex is more evidence supporting the “truth.” I assume that the story is accurate, but in the world of search and analytics, reality is—shall I say—malleable.

The point of the write up is:

Russian search giant Yandex has launched an open-source platform as a service (PaaS) … that the company says allows developers to build out their own app engines. Yandex, in its documentation, describes [the platform] … as an open-source PaaS system for creating custom cloud-hosting apps that are similar to Google App Engine or Heroku. It supports C++, Python and JavaScript. It is now developing support for Java and Racket.


  1. Search—enterprise flavor and public Web flavor–needs help. The help is apps and advertising.
  2. Search by itself is not a driver of growth. If it were, why get into the “more than search” business. Apps are not search. Search is no longer precision and recall. It is a weird fantasy land for some dreamers.
  3. Search does not produce big money. If the big money were available, certain decisions about Yandex’s home country building its own search system and countering Google’s ambitions in Russia would not be a problem. If search were big money, Google would not be an advertising system. Search is just an enabler of other, more lucrative activities.

I am not concerned about Yandex. What interests me is the obviousness of the “truth” that search revenue is a windmill. Language is too slippery. I watched a video on the MIT Video site of a learned panel of search experts. You can give it a whirl at I had to be on my toes. There were some folks charging at search windmills at full gallop.

What’s this Yandex move mean for companies pitching search as the source of limitless revenue?

Interesting question. Some search experts will be saddling up and heading off to attack a windmill. Are there many left in Kentucky? I wager there are some in the Boston area, Silicon Valley, and Moscow.

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2013


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