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Who do you believe?

So many companies make unverified (and often unverifiable) claims in their marketing that we almost don't notice the contradictory or impossible nature of such statements. A very dramatic example comes from Googling the phrase "image search". You discover that Google claims to be, "The most comprehensive image search on the web."; but, hang on, Altavista claims that it "provides the most comprehensive search experience on the Web!"; and, then, you are told that Picsearch is "The unrivalled search engine for pictures, images and animations." They can't all be true. Therefore, you think, perhaps, none is?
By way of checking, we searched the word "window" & found that Google seems indeed to be the "most comprehensive":
GOOGLE: about 98,400,000
YAHOO: 14,802,476
ALTAVISTA: 11,763,278
PICSEARCH: 1,410,023
The point is, the claims focus on the wrong issue. At a certain point in judging the relative merits of competing systems (companies/services/products), the size/quality/speed/depth/ length/intensity or whatever becomes irrelevant to the punter. The focus of the marketing has to move to some other issue, and that can very often end up being something quite subtle and subjective (brand, colour, design), but all specific selling points should be considered before giving up on specific claims: precise characteristics can help for the most general marketing targets, and sometimes niche is the best route anyway.
Surely Google could more particularly claim to be "the most popular image search on the web". Maybe Altavista could claim, cheekily, to be "the one that's well designed!" Picsearch claim elsewhere to have a "family friendliness that allows children [and businesses, I would add] to surf in safety", and could make a lot more of that, it seems, and commit to the niche route. Yahoo might claim something like "the quick, clever and selective option".

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