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article image'I'm feeling lucky' button costs Google $110 million per year

By Chris V. Thangham     Nov 23, 2007 in Internet
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said yesterday in an interview with Marketplace that around 1 per cent of all Google searches go through the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button and by passes all other sites and ads in the search page.
Based on the total revenues of Google from its search site, this 1 per cent search via the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button leads to $110 million in annual revenue lost according to Valleywag. When you hit this button, Google will find the best result of your search query and take you to the site directly -- no need for additional clicks.
When Sergey Brin and Larry Page started Google, they wanted it to be the best in the search business, and so it was their ambition to get the best result in the first link, or in the first page itself.
In other search engines, one has to browse more pages to get the best results.
But this presents a disadvantage for Google because the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button will lead the user to a third-party site directly and bypass all ads and advertisers. Because of that, Google will lose potential revenue to be earned from users clicking on ads, in this case $110 million per year.
So, one may ask why Google still keeps this button despite losing so much money. Marissa Mayer explains at Marketplace:It's possible to become too dry, too corporate, too much about making money. I think what's delightful about 'I'm Feeling Lucky' is that it reminds you there are real people here,"
This button may lose money for Google, but for every lost dollar there is a positive side: more users are happy with the Google experience and are more likely to return to use Google Search. And in most cases, many users don’t use this button all the time, so Google gains in the end.
There is also another feature in Firefox that will do the same as this “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, which uses Google to get the results. It is called “Browse by Name” feature: Just type the actual search keyword directly on the URL (http://...) and it will take you to that site directly. Here are the actual codes for the two features when you search for "Yahoo Mail" in Google:
I'm Feeling Lucky:
http://google.com/search?btnI=1&q=yahoo+mail
Browse by Name:
http://google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=mail
http://google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=yahoo+mail
More about Search button, Costs, Google
 
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