When Carol Bartz took over as CEO of Yahoo in January of this year, she was handed a huge task: recapture some of Yahoo's past glory. Most agreed that doing that meant figuring out what to do with Yahoo search.
Plan A: hand off the search business to Microsoft. But signs are mounting that regulators may not let the deal proceed smoothly, if at all. This led Search Engine Watch's Danny Sullivan to ask a simple question: "what's Yahoo's Plan B for search?"
This week Google was sued by Lending Tree, a company whose website enables consumers looking for mortgages and other loans to connect with lenders. LendingTree alleges that Google is planning to launch an online loan exchange of its own and that it will use technology provided by one of LendingTree's vendor. The problem: LendingTree alleges the vendor is contractually forbidden from working with LendingTree competitors, which LendingTree clearly believes Google is.
For its part, Google says that it's simply "working on a small ad unit test that will run against a limited number of mortgage-related search queries in the U.S." So while we don't yet have enough in the way of hard facts to evaluate the merits of LendingTree's claims, the lawsuit raises an interesting question: what if Google gets into the lead gen business?
“’Catchy’ is one word for it,” wrote MG. “Another is awful.” I’m afraid I agree with Siegler here, apart from the catchy bit, but make of it what you will:
It turns out that the winning songwriter - one Jonathan Mann, who writes one song a day and uploads them to YouTube – isn’t one to take this kind of criticism lying down. He has replied to Siegler via the power of song!
Microsoft is hard at work trying to compete with Google on search. The company has invested billions in research and advertising for its new search engine Bing. Not to mention the year long effort to get access to Yahoo's search business, which resulted in a deal penned last week.
But will Bing make progress in its fight against Google? Much of its search growth has been made at the expense of Yahoo to date. Now that the two are working together, will it continue to grow its search influence?
It looks like the key to Bing's success is also a major weakness: incremental advances on existing search technology.
Not everyone is sure that the deal between Yahoo and Microsoft will work out the way Yahoo and Microsoft hope but by in large, advertisers and search marketers are excited about the deal.
While Google will still hold a dominant lead in the search market, Microhoo becomes a strong number two, something that should create more competition. As David Kenny of Publicis' VivaKi told AdAge, "Anything that creates a credible platform and more innovation in search is going
to be good for consumers and, therefore, good for advertisers".
So after one of the worst wrong turns in corporate history, Yahoo has finally acceded to Microsoft by crawling into bed with the Bingmaker. In a nut, Microsoft will power Yahoo’s search engine and Yahoo will sell the ads globally.
Microsoft’s search market share will rise to around 21.5%, according to figures released by Hitwise last month, or roughly one quarter of Google’s share.
The deal lasts for 10 years, proving a little about my previous assertion that Microsoft is only five or so years into a 25-year search strategy. It is playing the long game, and this deal has solidified its position.
From where I’m sitting this signals three things:
Yahoo has totally given up on proprietary search. It might become a media company after all.
Microsoft has strengthened its hand and the deal should help prise further market share from Google.
Advertisers may benefit in the long run.
But what do the search marketing professionals make of the deal? I’ve been asking a few questions, so let’s hear what they have to say…
If that means Microsoft and Yahoo users pay more attention to advertising, it could be very good news for the smaller search engines. But it could also spell trouble for both if users are simply switching between the two services depending on which has the best advertising at any given moment.