The Google Definition Link and Answers.com

Google's definition link

Google’s definition link

There’s been a lot of coverage the last few days about Google changing its definition link to point to its own site. Since 2005 it had pointed to Answers.com, and before that to Dictionary.com.

A few key points:

  • Answers.com announced this upcoming change in our November 4 conference call and in SEC filings. Google was kind enough to provide a heads up, and we passed the message along.
  • We very much appreciate that Google valued our site enough to direct its definition seeking users to us for nearly five years. Google has every right to create its own definition service, and to decide for itself how best to serve its users. In this case Google is choosing its own fast, clean dictionary pages over Answers.com’s more robust pages that often include encyclopedias and specialized dictionaries (compare for example the pages defining annuity on Answers.com and on Google).
  • When Google first decided to point their definition link to Answers.com, we were just making the transition from being a pop-up dictionary / encyclopedia focused on short data sources to a more robust product that today includes many longer entries from publishers like Oxford and Gale and over 6 million answered questions from our community. We actually have Google GUI guru Marissa Mayer to thank for suggesting that we move from a tabbed interface (where each source was on its own tab) to displaying our sources one after the other, which helped our site develop into a more complete information resource.
  • The Google definition link accounted for only about 5% of Answers.com traffic in recent months. The bulk of Answers.com traffic today is to our community Q&A.
  • In 2005 Google’s definition link really helped us take off. But in the last few years it has been the least significant component of our relationship with Google. Google continues to direct many of their searchers to the answers we provide. And the bulk of our revenue comes from Google AdSense, a contract we actually recently renewed to continue through January 2012.

In summary, Web users increasingly choose Google to find information. We thank Google for pointing their definition link to us for almost 5 years. We’re sorry to see that traffic go, but it was only 5% of our traffic. Google has built tremendous networks that connect information seekers, information providers, and advertisers. We’re glad to be a part of these networks. We will continue focusing our efforts on providing quality answers from licensed sources and from the community, and we hope users will continue finding us both directly and from Google search.