As he describes in the feature video, Gordon Povey of Better Internet Search is one of Scotland’s Digital Disruptors.
Our goal with the DigitalScot.live webinar series is to showcase Scottish startups setting out to disrupt major industries, and Better Internet Search is taking on the most audacious of challenges: To build a better search engine than Google!
The theme of Gordon’s talk is how many “experts” have told them what a foolhardy goal this is, and you’d be forgiven for agreeing with them when you consider just how massive and ubiquitous Google is.
However at one point in time Google was just two guys in a garage and they were being told the same thing, with objective of displacing the incumbents like Altavista being their foolhardy mission.
That is the nature of Digital Disruption in the Internet era, no one is safe, any one can be toppled from the top slot simply through a new player having a unique competitive advantage that moves the game to an entirely new playing field.
Integrated Commerce Search
For the main introduction Gordon sets the scene by highlighting search users have two main issues with the Google approach: Data privacy and advertising. Google very intrusively tracks all of your online behaviours and uses that data to personalize adverts at you.
So Better Internet Search is going for a different model, one that keeps your personal data entirely private and doesn’t offer any advertising.
This leaves you wondering what possible options are there then to generate revenues, but as he explains from 13m:00s, Gordon and his team are pioneering an alternative model, one that charges users for searching, paid through tokens that they top up into their search wallet.
The core of their model is that should a user proceed to an e-commerce store as a result of their search and make a purchase, the user is rewarded with tokens back into their wallet. They can also directly purchase top ups.
From 25m:00s Gordon demonstrates where this can lead, showing an integrated search / product commerce experience. Given it is such a popular and distinct use of searching, to find products you want to buy, there is huge potential to offer a much improved, end-to-end integrated experience.
Thus Better Internet Search has defined a unique niche in the marketplace where they could achieve product superiority, and the dream of winning the David vs Goliath battle with Google suddenly seems more than realistic.