Parsijoo trailed with less than 300,000 hits in September.
Parsijoo trailed with less than 300,000 hits in September.

Iranian Search Engines Trail Behind International Competition

Iran’s Internet search engines are struggling in the face of foreign competition
Yahoo.com stood at second place in the national rankings

Iranian Search Engines Trail Behind International Competition

Parsijoo.ir is the most used search engine in Iran after Google, the head of the steering committee of Iranian Search Engines said.

Although the statement by Alireza Yari is impressive, it is factually wrong. Anyone with an inkling of knowledge about Internet usage in Iran would understand that there is a raft of other search engines, mainly US-based, that are far ahead of Parsijoo, Mehr News Agency reported on October 31.

Looking into the wider trends of Internet search engines, one thing is clear: These days, search engines are less a standalone service and more integrated into the broader operating system like Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana et al.

Knowing this, Parsijoo has a huge battle to contend with: How can an independent search engine that uses the only local web developers contend with billion-dollar budgets of US, Russian and Chinese players?

It cannot, without blocking the competition, which was attempted on at least one occasion in 2012.

Yari also stated, “Iranian Internet citizens are slowly moving toward using domestic search engines more and more each day.”

According to SimilarWeb, a free-to-use website statistic checker, Parsijoo comes in at a low #779. It notes that the search engine is becoming less popular since April and has gone down to 270,000 hits in September.

Compared with another locally-funded search engine, Yooz.ir, the website is doing well. Yooz is reporting 123,000 hits, but the sites were neck-and-neck in July.

In the original report, Yari added that based on studies conducted by the Institute of Communications and Information Technology, Parsijoo search engine ranks second after Google in Iran, and is followed by Bing and another Iranian search engine Yooz.

Financial Tribune compared his statistics with its own relatively accurate ones and found that this is a little bit off.

Another well-respected Internet analytics agency, Alexa.com also gives information on website usage by country.

Alexa also disagrees with Yari’s comments and shows that the website was the 390th most popular website in the country with VPN traffic from the US and the UK making up the rest of the top three visiting countries.

According to the Amazon-owned Alexa ranking, Yahoo.com came in second place in the national rankings, followed by Google.nl at 42nd place surprisingly and Microsoft’s Bing at 49th place.

In 55th place, MSN.com makes a visit, itself using the same search engine as Bing.

In a surprising appearance, Ask.com ranked 66th. In 97th place was Live.com, another Microsoft search engine from the early 2000s, which fell out of favor years ago.  

The stats show that the Iranian search engines are trailing by a large margin, due to not being integrated into the wider software system.

The only way they are going to get some semblance of success would be if they sign deals with foreign companies and channel all government queries through their site.

Ultimately, Google and the other big two search engines are not likely to lose their prominent positions in the near term.



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