Though it’s a perfectly good tool for clowning around and wasting time, everyone knows by now that the internet is big business, and nowhere is this more the case than here in the UK.
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, only the property sector contributes more to our economy than the internet, and the UK has the weightiest internet economy among G-20 nations.
Of course, the first name most of us associate with the web is Google, and statistics show that the search engine was used for 85.71% of searches over the last 12 months.
With the internet being huge in the UK, and Google being huge within the internet, this led me to think of what an achievement it must be to become the search engine’s automatic suggestion for just one letter, but who are the 26 people, businesses and things in this exclusive list?
Last Friday afternoon, I decided to check this out using Google.co.uk, and this is what I found:
• BBC News
• Daily Mail
• John Lewis
• Kanye West
• Universal Jobmatch
So, if (like a lot of internet users) you were very lazy and couldn’t be bothered to do any more than type one letter on your keyboard or tablet before letting Google do the rest, these are the entities you would stumble upon.
We can break this collection down into
• 9 retailers
• 3 finance-related sites (Lloyds, PayPal and Quidco)
• 2 news sources
• 2 property sites (the only sector worth more to the economy than the internet)
• 2 email applications
• 2 social media sites (Facebook and YouTube, while Twitter surprisingly misses out)
• Maps and weather (I’m not sure how to categories these – reference points, maybe?)
• 1 search engine (a lot of people Google ‘Google’, it would seem)
• 1 TV programme
• 1 governmental site (and it’s the one that helps people find jobs – make of that what you will!)
• 1 person (and for crying out loud don’t tell him – he doesn’t need his ego fed any further!)
How can I join this group?
No doubt you’re now looking longingly at this list and wondering where it all went wrong for you in life, and scowling at whichever little upstart is stopping you from ‘owning’ a Google letter. What’s John Lewis done to be a better ‘J’ than John Murray, besides a few corny Christmas adverts? As if eBay, with it’s silly online auctions and last-minute bid snipers, is more relevant to Google users than Engage Web!
It seems to me that there are four key secrets to making this list:
1. Sell clothes
Retailers dominate the list, and most of them offer clothing, while Next and Very specialise in it. Indeed, clothing and sportswear was the most popular category of online purchase last year.
2. Begin with a rare letter
I keep hearing that nobody watches The X-Factor anymore, but there it is on the list. However, perhaps it helps that all it really has to compete with is the Xbox and the xylophone, and a similar argument could apply with Quidco and Zoopla.
X, Q and Z are uncommon letters, yet they still get one key on your keyboard like all the other letters. Does the digital era offer marketing advantage in naming a company with a weird letter at the front?
3. Be something Google does
The prominence of ‘maps’, YouTube and Google itself perhaps suggests that Google has a vested interest in some of its suggestions. In fact, Google suggests ‘translate’ ahead of ‘Twitter’, which seems a bit narcissistic.
4. Be massive
Yeah, there’s no escaping it, these entities are mostly household names, so no amount of SEO is going to turn a start-up into a Google one-letter wonder on its own. To gain a foothold though and make the web really work for you, always consider the value of an online marketing and web design specialist.