Rebecca Lieb from ClickZ wrote an article about “Microhoo’s Battle Is For The Hearts And Minds,” which brings up the question that even if Microsoft and Yahoo are successful in building a search engine better than Google’s, will it matter?

She continues on to express the notion that once people have established a particular behavior, in this case going to Google to do their searching as the vast majority of users do now, will they change their behavior from that established habit?

In my opinion it really depends on only one thing-human behavior. But I’m not talking about the behavior of the searchers, I’m talking about the behavior of the management of Google.

Historic examples of human behavior have shown that once someone reaches what they consider to be the pinnacle of success, they slack off, get lazy, become arrogant and try to live off the fruits of their labors and spend all their time trying to destroy the competition. They act like spoiled Kings and eventually lose their empire.

Let me give you a prime example (I am leaving out names to protect the guilty): in our Reno Sparks area a large mall was built several years ago on the outskirts of town. We will call it the “Newer Mall”.

It became much better and bigger than previous Older Mall that was inside of town, and after many years of competition, the old King disappeared and It was razed and flattened to the ground and is currently a vacant property.

the Older Mall is now a Vacant Lot

The Mall is now a Vacant Lot

The managers of the New Mall had a monopoly and used that power over their tenants in ruthless ways. They kept demanding higher and higher fees. They kept making more and more restrictions and requirements on them. The poor tenants suffered miserably and started to leave. For a time it didn’t matter because everyone was anxious to be a part of this main revenue source and purchasing traffic and quickly filled the gaps.

But a new mall sprung up on the outskirts of town called The Summit (the Newer Mall is no longer on the outskirts anymore). Another new mall is springing up on the opposite end of town called The Legends at Sparks Marina.

The Legends Mall at Sparks Marina

The Legends Mall at Sparks Marina

The Legends Mall Sparks NV

The Legends Mall Sparks NV

Scheels Sporting Goods at Legends Mall

Scheels Sporting Goods at Legends Mall

Many of the higher end stores have moved to these two new malls and revenues at The Newer Mall have started a rapid decline. It is currently filled with junky kiosks and hard pressed street vendors and you feel like you are a tourist wading through the markets of a foreign country where everyone is trying to get you to just “try it on!” High pressure tactics at its worst. It is following the same path of The Older Mall, 10 years previous.

A nice little novelty store that was once in The Newer Mall had left several years ago because of the ruthless behavior of the management. For four years they tried to get The Newer Mall to change its policies. They refused to listen. The only alternative was to shut down the business and leave for good.

But guess who is now calling the novelty store begging them to return? Guess who is offering them an entire year of free rent if they will open their business again? Guess who is now extremely humbled and on their knees?

And guess who has turned them down and refused their demeaning offer?

In reality, similar stories like this have been repeated over and over again in life, business, politics, religion, etc. and it will not change even with large companies such as Google and Microsoft. Just look what happened to General Motors? Their own arrogance caused the Japanese to replace them. Their creation of the Chevy Vega and the equally disastrous Ford Pinto opened the doors for competitors. The same thing can happen to Google, Microsoft, Apple or any other company, large or small. It may take many years but it will happen if they don’t recognize it and change their actions.

As an example of something done right (and sticking with our theme of “malls”) there was another mall near the Older Mall called Shoppers Square but it had a different mentality. It took care of its customers and because it tended to business, it is still around, even though The Older Mall is gone and The Newer Mall is on the way out.

It isn’t the location of the mall that matters, but the business tactics of the management that makes all the difference.

SHOPPERS SQUARE MALL

SHOPPERS SQUARE MALL

Yes, human behavior must definitely be considered when thinking about the future of these companies but it isn’t the searchers behavior that matters most; it’s the leadership and management of the companies that makes the most difference. As long as Google keeps up its technology, remains aware of the latest trends and vows to keep up with them by delivering the most relevant content, then they will remain the King of the search engines. If they don’t, they will leave the door wide open to Bing or anyone else that wants to take over.

This article was written in response to a discussion at FullSail.edu.
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