The Reg argues that there is 'no search engine business', but that there's only an 'advertising business'. Semantics? I don't think so. Calling search engines 'advertising' delivery mechanisms misses the whole reason why Google succeeded - by delivering messages that are closely targeted enough to almost not
qualify as advertising in the first place.
Is it just 'an intermediary between buyers and sellers', as the Reg claims? Nope - not in the traditional sense. It know the preferences of both buyers and sellers in much finer detail than any media buyer ever could - and this is where it creates massive value for both parties. That's why there is, and will always be, a search business on the Net - it's about consumers revealing their preferences, and smart firms collecting that valuable information.