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To Search or Not to Search, That is the Question.

Sorry Will (Shakespeare that is), I didn't mean to misquote or mislead the followers of the great bard. It's just that search isn't what it used to be. Looking at my client (as well as  my own) analytics, it seems more and more people are typing in URLs into the search box. Is this still considered search, when the only possible result is the one they're looking for? Or is this a sign of our 'marketing times'? Gone are the days of typing in "books" or "movies".  Now brand awareness has Internet users typing "Amazon.com" and "Fandango.com" Google has openly admitted that brands are given preferential positioning. There's no surprise that online brands are becoming more established, and that older trending user demographics - those used to big brand domination of the 50's thru 80's - are searching on brand names, what is a surprise is that many of the big retail categories are rapidly being dominated by one or a few big brands. The promise of the Internet as the big "leveler of the playing field" hasn't exactly come to be. Whilst small brands / retailers and information sites can survive, the competitive verticals are rapidly becoming little more than crumbs for new and innovative entries (with some exceptions where disruptive innovation has occurred.) What does this mean to online marketers? Are there still opportunities for startups to break into competitive verticals? Certainly. But be prepared to build a brand, not just a business. As Shakespeare's Shylock said (with some poetic license): "I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you... but I might not search for you!"