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Microsoft and Yahoo Team up to Fight Google

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Microsoft and Yahoo have just announced that they’ll be teaming up in an effort to grab market share from Google.

The deal centres on a ten-year contract, which will see Yahoo listing Bing’s organic results on its SERPs (search engine results pages), and placing adCenter ads instead of Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) adverts. The deal also offers Microsoft the opportunity to incorporate any of Yahoo’s search technology into its own platform.

Good News
It’s good to see that Google’s competition hasn’t given up. I’d hate to think that Google would start getting complacent (*cough cough*).

Yahoo and Microsoft know that they won’t be able to compete against Google unless they join forces. This merger will mean (at current rates anyway) that Microsoft’s search market share could be over 5%. This is still chicken feed compared to Google’s 85%+ slice of the market, but it’s almost double what it was achieving before.

It’s also worth remembering that Bing has some really nice features…

The ‘related search’ feature returns a greater number of interesting and useful links than Google’s similarly-named feature, and Bing’s desire to include (nearly) live search data (by implementing Twitter into its SERPs) is admirable.

But I’m not convinced though that these features will be enough to take users from Google, even if it does show they’re giving it a good shot.

Another good point is that YSM will become irrelevant. Personally, I always found YSM a bit of a chore, so I’m glad that we’ll be able to reach Yahoo with Microsoft adCenter. At least it has a desktop campaign editor.

Conversion rates on adCenter are also generally better than YSM, so seeing increased volumes here will be very welcome.

Bad News
Although the news has just been announced, the roll-out could take up to 24 months to complete — and it won’t even start until it has regulatory approval.  As usual with these things, the US will get the implementation first. In the UK, we’ll have to wait and see how things unfold in the States before we get to test it out.

Also, as anyone who works in or around the web will tell you, two years is a very long time. One of my favourite things about this industry is the speed at which it moves, and how adaptable we need to be to keep up. I can’t help but wondering if this integration plan is so long that, by the time everything’s in place, it will be too late for the Microsoft/Yahoo partnership to start its fight-back.
 

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