One think to remember is that Google with their corporations friends are squeezing the traffic from regular webmasters to force them to sign up into their Adwords system. Make no mistake as webmasters we are no match to compete with the Google friends corporations.
The web is huge -- so huge that directories failed to provide a useful method for visitors to find sites. That leaves branding, social networking, advertising and search. Branding is an option only for large companies. Social networking works only in some niches. Advertising works only on niches where the profit margins support the costs. Search is the only workable solution for small sites in non-entertainment niches with low profit margins -- i.e. most informative niche sites.
Google has managed to become the dominant search engine. Webmasters can't change that -- only web searchers can change that. Nothing we do on the supply side will help, this is a demand side issue.