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
“.

The support for the Microhoo deal appears broad-based. Andrew Allemann, editor of Domain Name Wire, even wrote a letter of his own to the US Department of Justice, which will be reviewing the deal:

The deal is going to end up in your lap early next year, and a number of
lobbyists will be screaming that the deal is anti-competitive. Don’t buy it.

This deal creates a competitor. It takes two also-rans in the search
business and turns them into a true (although still relatively weak) competitor
to Google.

As a small web site publisher, I’m convinced that having at least two viable
advertising providers in the search space is critical to keep each one in check.
Right now we have a growing ad provider in Google and a faltering one in Yahoo.
Everyone else is a tackling dummy. By Yahoo and Microsoft joining forces, their
scale will be enough to entice more advertisers to pay attention. This, in turn,
will benefit web entrepreneurs.

The reaction to the Microhoo deal is in sharp contrast to the reaction to Google’s failed deal with Yahoo. That faced resistance from advertisers groups and was eventually shot down when the US Department of Justice made it clear that it wasn’t going to let the deal proceed without a fight.

This tells us a lot about where Google stands today. The search giant has been referred to in the past as a “frenemy” by one major agency exec and the reality is that Google is more like a frenemy to a lot of individuals and businesses. That sentiment is abundantly clear today.

The truth is that Google’s days as a likable ‘do no evil‘ upstart are over. It’s a multi-billion dollar multi-national corporation. Package that any way you want; most multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations aren’t going to win popularity contests.

Humans love to root for the underdog and Microhoo is definitely the underdog. So it’s natural that individuals and businesses are supporting the formation of a stronger competitor. But Google shouldn’t brush this off either; it would be wise to take the opportunity to engage in a little bit of introspection.

What can it do to innovate in search? How can it improve paid search for mutual benefit of both itself and its advertisers? How can it make its customers feel more satisfied about their role in the relationship? These are all questions that Google should be asking in an effort to address the fact that so many people are so eager for an alternative.

If we’re lucky, Microhoo will create the type of competition we’d like to see in the search market. But Microhoo is not going to displace Google and if we’re really lucky, Microhoo will serve as the encouragement for Google to be a better frenemy.

Photo credit: JVManna via Flickr.