Jakob Nielson, usability and web guru and all around good linkbait marketer, recently wrote on the effect search engines have on the web:
I worry that search engines are sucking out too much of the Web's value, acting as leeches on companies that create the very source materials the search engines index.
In the long run, every time companies increase the value of their online businesses, they end up handing over all that added value to the search engines. Any gain is temporary; once competing sites improve their profit-per-visitor enough to increase their search bids, they'll drive up everybody's cost of traffic.
He is totally correct too. When I started my other blog the CPC and search volume were nothing, like literally. As I branded the hell out of term now there are thousands of searches a month for it and the ads cost way more than they used to.
My example of my other blog might be bad, as search created that market, but there are many other markets that search engines add little value to while extracting massive profits.