What has Changed in the Search Engine Industry 2008
The search landscape has always been prone to big changes. Universal Search comes to mind. The revamp of Google’s algorithm last year caused epic chaos and closing of businesses. However in the first 6 months of 2008, it’s been relatively quiet other than the Yahoo MSN acquisition drama. Here are some quick hits for the big search engine players.
- Finished the Acquisition of DoubleClick: I recently made a visit to the Google SF campus and there seems to be a lot of talk about many features and tools brewing between Google & DoubleClick. I hope Google could really capitalize on DoubleClick’s strengths and pump out some new betas soon.
- Questions about Search Growth: There was much hoopla about ComScore’s data release sometime in February about the slowing growth of the search market. Wall Street Analyst responded with concerns and lowering of valuations. However there was immediate response by the search expert blogosphere claiming Wall Street has no idea what they are talking about and the many inaccuracies of the ComScore data. I for one don’t forsee Google or any search firms running into any trouble. In this down market, companies continue to allocate a greater amount of their marketing budgets to search as search has been found to be the most effective marketing medium outside of email blasting your consumer base. It is also highly attractive during the down turn because it is direct marketing meaning you know for every dollar you put in how much you get out.
- Google Sites: Launched in Feb. This tool allows you to collaborate with others and create a website. Similar to a wiki, it can be edited and modified by multiple people. It is fully integrated with Google Docs.
-Google Health: Launched in May. I have to admit I’ve not used this feature. If anyone has any feedback or comments it would be greatly appreciated.
- Google Planner: Launched in June. This is a research tool to further give insight and visibility into Google’s Content network. You can sort by demographics or type of sites and see what websites from the Google Content Network matches with you set of inputs.
- Google Death: Just kidding. Partially. As many know Google pumps out betas and are constantly testing new products and features. Two of these features specific to search engine marketing are getting the axe. Cross Channel Tracking and Pay Per Action Campaigns. Both are a tragedy and has made things a bit complicated for our Google Adwords Management though I could see their reasoning. By eliminating these tools the need to utilize their Google Analytic Tools become all the more important. Sneaky Devils.
- Acquisition: Hands down the biggest news of the first half of 2008. Microsoft put in a bid to acquire Yahoo. There has been endless coverage of this saga. Even now there are whispers of Yahoo being more open to selling themselves to Microsoft at the lower bid price. With the recent partnership with Google, any acquisition will cost Yahoo $250 million to break out of the contract.
- MSN AdCenter: The only big news outside of the acquisition is the continued roll out of the Microsoft AdCenter Editor desktop tool. As they continue to expand the beta program, more and more word is coming out on its functionalities. Speculation abound on how this will affect MSN search. LeadQual has access to this beta and so far we’ve run into many issues and bugs, but still its a billion times better than MSN’s web UI, so we’ll patiently wait for the updates.
- They are still alive?: You bet they are. The reason you are hearing less and less of them in the search world is that they shifted their strategic focus from competing against Google & Yahoo for market share to targeting a specific niche: Middle Aged Women & Housewives. If your company caters specifically to that demographic, its a good time to actively think about advertising on their site.
Sr. Manager of Web Marketing
LeadQual – Search Engine Marketing