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The Resurrection of Lycos: Former Search Giant Planning a 2013 Comeback

Sites include . Published on December 30th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

Long before Google began dominating the search space there was a handful of players that seemed almost unbeatable at the search game. Names like Yahoo, Hot Bot, Alta Vista and Lycos were search kings and queens and at the time it was unthinkable that these players wouldn’t last forever. But as search became more complex and users demanded more with greater relevance, these companies began to falter.

This inability to keep searches relevant led to the eventual collapse of search engines like Alta Vista and Hot Bot and the rise Google. Today the search landscape is dominated by Google with players like Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo desperately trying to keep up. Lycos isn’t completely dead and thanks to a deal on the side, the former search giant gets some action where searches are concerned.

The 2013 plan

The people behind Lycos are not satisfied with the scraps they are currently getting and plan to launch a bit of a comeback in the New Year. The search engine is now managed by India-based digital marketing firm Ybrant Digital, which acquired Lycos back in 2010. CEO Rob Balazy gave some insight into the company’s plans in a recent interview and if he’s to be believed, Lycos could find itself playing ‘disruptor’ in the search space.

“In the coming year you will see us introduce a new proprietary search product. I don’t want to say too much about it as it’s still in the planning stage but we have a vision to merge the notion of a search-type activity with a curated content experience,” said Balazy.

What will be different?

Although Balazy didn’t divulge much, the mention of curated content suggests that Lycos may be looking to give a richer search experience. The only trouble is that Google already gives a very rich search experience and many have tried to do better only to fail. Can Lycos succeed where others have failed? Balazy seems to think so: “We think the benefit to the consumer is huge. It removes the process of trial and error from clicking on search results and hitting ‘Back’ in the browser.”

Balazy insists that the push to become relevant again is not some attempt to take on Google—heaven knows that won’t be easy; instead he believes that Lycos will be able to dig deep into the niche search experience and hep users find what they want quicker and with wider data choices.

“We’ll focus more on the head terms, the search queries that are important and matter to people and really focus on the presentation layer, making the user experience really intuitive, really beautiful and take the same data-driving approach we’re doing with our homepage,” says Balazy.

It will be interesting to see how Lycos manages out in the wild with hungry bears like Google running around. Search of 2012/2013 is a different kettle of fish to things back in the 1990s. Unless Lycos can offer something radically different, the search engine is unlikely to gain traction among non-traditional users.

Do you think Lycos can take on the established players in the search market? Share your thoughts below.

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