With Google Instant Search, GoDaddy is More Popular than God

Google changes could be important. And I really mean it this time.

There have been plenty of times where pundits have said changes at Google would turn the web on its head. They (and I) have been wrong.

But this time may be different.

When you start thinking about the implications of Instant Search your head starts to spin. Just think about it from the advertising perspective. Efficient Frontier did, and my head is spinning. Think about how many untargeted impressions your ad might start showing up for!

I played around with Instant Search tonight and already found some startling things. Type “god”, and your instant search results won’t be for religion. They’ll be for GoDaddy — unless you hit the enter key after typing “god”.

Godaddy god

Start searching for “Domain Name Wi” and results will show up for “Domain Name Wiki” with “Domain Name Wire” as the second suggestion. Hopefully people continue typing all the way. Of course, you get an entirely different set of results when you hit enter after “wi”.

Also think about singular vs. plural. Suddenly, ranking higher for the singular version of a word might be better if people stop typing before they type the ‘s’.

This change could radically affect search traffic. Pay attention to your analytics over the next few days — it could be a wild ride!


  1. Chris says

    I’m thinking this is over-rated. My google search box in my firefox browser has pushed suggestions for me for years. Same with the iphone.

    Is this really a game-changer?

    • says

      @ Chris – the difference is now you see those results as you type — so you can just stop typing without even selecting a suggestion.

      I don’t think the world changes overnight. But over time it could have a major affect.

  2. james says

    Seems to only work when you are logged into google. What percentage of searchers actually are logged into Google when conducting a search. Obviously domainers, seo, etc however the general population I would assume is much lower. Interesting none the less.

  3. says

    I’ve been using google chrome for a while..and I always see the suggestion box with a list of search terms as you type. Darn, I don’t remember ever notice whether other browsers don’t have a suggestion box. I assume they all have them.

    The only different now is they push the first suggested term onto the search box. Google must think that we are so stupid that we can’t even highlight and click on the desired suggested search term.

    I found this enhancement annoying, similar to auto complete. Is there a way to shut it off?

    It looks like google is trying to get us to click on a suggested term with the least number of key stroke by having this annoying “auto complete” search sitting on our search box.

  4. Elliot says


    Maybe Google uses your past searches and browsing habits to know when you type “god” you are likely looking for godaddy. It could be similar to Google serving registrar-related banners on non-business websites that have Adsense installed.

  5. Louise says

    This is annoying, but Google was already annoying! Its suggestions zapped the double quote I enter at the start. Try entering a phrase in quotes; Google doesn’t like those! It’s like my terms get wiped out and I have to start over every time!

  6. Hotrod says

    This is an awful update from Google. I feel dizzy with the results flashing in the background as I typed. Full of unnecessary bells and whistles. This is an example of when good technology go bad.

  7. says

    I tried it and turned it right off.

    Seems like this feature would cause seizures!

    If I want to type in a three word search term, my brain has to process maybe 20 different page loads as I type?

    Not for me.

  8. says

    This is about as dumb of a move as when coke tried to switch to the new coke, I imagine the folks at bing today are going to have a big party.

  9. Jamie says

    I am seeing “Long Tail” searches spike a bit today. Pretty interesting because I would have thought it would go to shorter searches.

    This will be interesting to watch. Stat tracking and understanding them is going to be interesting. Google Webmasters will be interesting to watch as well.

    As always, there is good and bad with this but I did use Yahoo a couple times today and I never use Yahoo for search!

  10. says

    @ Andrew: true, true.

    It really is interesting to see how the public slowly changes its course over the years regarding how to find things on the Internet.

  11. Louise says

    The quotes work better now! I retract the former.

    There are fewer adult results on “teen watches” which used to produce hundreds – yay! That’s my site: TeenWatches .com.

    Some changes are certainly due to the new algorhythm which produces more results from one site, if it is popular, such as,
    Museum of Natural History
    has five listings from its website on the first page. See announcement from Google’s blog, Showing More Results from a Domain

  12. duh says

    Wow what a laugh, people turning this feature off..

    Same who say only .com exists, LOL.

    Those that actually like info, they must love this, makes search a fun discovery process..

    Ive been using Chrome for its suggestions for a while now, also with an extension that gives thumbnails, awesome..

    ps. Type-ins are 1 or 2 letters max. If you are long tail, better be good to get noticed.

  13. Deke says

    This will piss off small businesses.

    Why should Amazon get a free upper edge by “owning” the A when they are already #1 ?

    Google is just getting too kissy kissy with the big companies. They are basically saying to big biz, “Hey we’ll give a freakin’ whole letter, how about spending more with us? We know you have more bucks than small businesses and we’ll scratch your back if you scratch ours!”

    I think Google is walking on thin ice with this move. It’s annoying to boot. I’m going to turn it off.

    This makes me like Bing.com even more now.

  14. Aaron says

    This thing is a bloody nuisance. They couldn’t just keep a normal, simple search box. That’s what I loved about Google until it started meddling with things beyond repair. At first I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me or that I was hitting the “enter” button by mistake when I saw the results keep refreshing. But then I realized that Google just went ahead and did something unasked and uncalled for. I prefer to have my results when I’ve actually hit the “enter” key instead of having results change every second as I continue typing my desired search. If Google keeps this up, I’ll be forced back to that piece of crap Yahoo. In Soviet Russia, browser searches for you!

  15. Steve M says

    Several thoughts:

    1. Half of Google users will turn Instant off because the constant results changes are more (or at least seem to them to be) irritating than helpful.

    2. Advertiser uproar due to higher ad costs and/or reduced ROI may force G to offer advertisers an opt-out of Instant option for paid ads.

  16. says

    This is a great post Andrew. Thought provoking from the perspective of domain names and how they influence search results. I think this could be a slight game changer – I just don’t know in what way!

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