This might comes to a shock to some of you but yes, Google’s search engine dominance in South Korea is less than 2%. Proof?
Here’s an image I got from a blog post from Korea:
As you can see in the above graph, Naver.com is dominant with over 70% market share, Daum.net with 12%, Yahoo at 7%, Empas.com at 2%, and Google at the last place. The above graph is from last year but it probably hasn’t changed much a year later.
Why is it that the famous PageRank not working for the South Koreans?
Answer is simple. Google’s Algorithm is geared toward the English language. As soon as you put another language, the algorithm no longer works. (This is not the case with all languages such as Spanish, French, or other languages derived from Latin)
Even me, I remember rarely using Google in Korea unless I wanted to find something in English. (Funny thing is, as soon as I come back to the US, I am ONLY using Google…)
How did Naver.com take so much market share? They don’t have an algorithm.
From what I hear on the news and my friends over in Korea, Naver has like 100,000 people working at their company adding and editing their search engine results daily.
Basically, Naver is a “human” powered search engine, sorta like what founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales is building right now, the Wikia. You can check out Wikia’s new alpha version of the search engine here.
I tried the Wiki search engine but the results? very mediocre indeed. But I do remember when Wikipedia first started appearing on the internet, the Wikipedia content was so crap back then I didn’t think it’d get so big today.
I think Wikia has a chance at grabbing a big share of the search engine market if they can start picking up more users. We will give it some time and come back to this topic later down the road.
Although there have been rumors that Wikia may not be so successful at taking some share of the search engine market from Google, this study proves that the “PageRank” algorithm can be beaten in other countries.
FYI, Korea has about 15 Million internet users. Naver.com makes about $15 million in revenue annually. (Nothing compared to Google but why isn’t Google at the top with the billions of dollar they have? I mean, they did open an office in Korea couple years back too.)
The point of this story?
Not that Wikia might get some of the market share but that search engine markets in other countries are still vulnerable to young MBA graduates (or dropouts) like Sergey Brin.
I apologize if you can’t read Korean and all my sources are in Korean but I have only translated them and all sources are from respectable blogs in Korea.