NEW YORK (
) -- In the land of search,
casts a big shadow. But the Internet giant doesn't walk alone.
Before you bail thinking this is another
, consider the humble
in the search industry has reached a successful plateau. But plateaus are sort of flat, and investors like growth. That's one area where Answers soars.
Answers.com is a Q&A-styled search site that can claim few advantages over Google, but when looking at traffic growth, Answers blows Google's doors off. In the second quarter, Answers' daily page views grew 12% year over year, and it now ranks as the 18th most popular site in the U.S., according to an August ComScore report.
More meaningfully, Answers is on pace to increase sales by nearly 50% this year. Google, by comparison, saw
for the first time in the first quarter and is expected to see revenue grow 7% this year, according to an analyst tally on Yahoo! Finance.
But while promising, growth alone doesn't tell the full story.
Answers gets most of its traffic from Google searches, and a big part of its service relies on a collection of 600 to 1,000 volunteer experts who provide answers to questions posted on the site.
Answers is a money-losing operation. The company lost $3.6 million on $5 million in sales in the most recent quarter. That, however, was a major improvement on the $4.6 million loss on $3 million in sales in the same period a year prior.
Also, the biggest driver of Answers' growth is an acquisition the company made last year of
, a site with year-over-year page view growth of 162% in the second quarter, according to ComScore.
In addition to big competitors like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, Answers also jousts with smaller shops like
New York Times
. But both Ask and About have had relatively flat traffic levels over the past year, according to
If growth is what you seek in Internet search stocks, your answers might be in the charts.
Written by Scott Moritz in New York