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December 20, 2006

More bad news for Windows Live Search traffic

Posted by David Hunter at 11:52 AM ET.

Nielsen/Netratings yesterday released their USA search stats for November and the net for year over year number of searches (in provider rank order) is:

It’s one thing to lose share, but MSN/Windows Live Search actually lost traffic while the overall search volume grew and that is the the same story as in October and recent prior months as well. It’s not a pretty picture considering how much effort Microsoft has put into Windows Live Search.

On a related note, Topix.net’s Rich Skrenta sparked a lot of discussion with his observation that based on referrals to prominent websites, Google’s ability to drive traffic is considerably greater than even its first place search share ranking would indicate. Microsoft’s Don Dodge summarizes the discussion nicely.



Filed under AOL, Advertising, Ask.com, Coopetition, General Business, Google, Live Search, MSN, MSN Search, Microsoft, Online Services, Windows Live, Yahoo

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November 4, 2006

Ask.com bumps Microsoft and Google at Lycos

Posted by David Hunter at 11:21 AM ET.

When I first read that Lycos had kicked out Windows Live Search and replaced it with Ask.com, I thought that it was a story about midget wrestling, but David Utter at WebProNews says there’s more and it’s a biggie:

If Lycos as a name does not grab your attention right away, you may be missing the size of the scope of the deal that has Ask replacing a couple of pretty big names on the Lycos network.

Before the start of November, Lycos delivered search results from Microsoft’s Windows Live Search. Google delivered the sponsored search advertising to Lycos visitors.

That’s all changed now. Earlier today, Ask announced its deal with Lycos, booting out Google and Microsoft from that network. Again, you may think, “so what?”

“The query volume that Lycos generates is in the same ballpark as MySpace’s,” Andrew Moers, Ask VP for Business Development & Syndication Solutions, told WebProNews in an email interview. “It was a very competitive deal process and we worked hard to win this one.”

A high query volume means more ad exposures, which should lead to more clicks and more revenue.

Moers claims that comScore undercounts Lycos searches and while that is certainly possible, the proof will be in the dollars. Speaking of which, Ask’s parent, InterActiveCorp, reported sharply better 3Q results, particularly in their media and advertising unit which includes Ask.com. It also doesn’t hurt that IAC is owned by Barry Diller who provides a halo effect similar to Steve Jobs.

The net is that Ask.com has some spiffy new search features and is aggressively and apparently profitably making a move on fourth place in the search engine rankings by passing AOL in September even according to comScore. Next step, Microsoft who is in third place.



Filed under AOL, Ask.com, Coopetition, Google, Live Search, Lycos, Microsoft, Windows Live

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September 19, 2006

Google US search share up in August

Posted by David Hunter at 8:21 PM ET.

After dropping slightly in July, Google’s search US share was up slightly in August:

Google Inc.’s share of the 6.5 billion Web searches conducted in the U.S. in August inched up, reversing a loss the company saw in July, according to reports from comScore Networks and Nielsen NetRatings released Tuesday.

Data from comScore, an Internet research company, showed Google held a 44.1 percent share of U.S. search queries, up from 43.7 percent in July. Nielsen NetRatings estimated the share at 50.2 percent, up from 49.2 percent last month.

Microsoft is reportedly in 3rd place as usual and comScore has them at %12.5 down from %12.8 in July and %15.8 a year ago, while I have yet to see the Nielsen details for Microsoft. As always, we’re talking small changes in the monthly numbers, but if you would like to try to discern longer term trends, Danny Sullivan has the Nielsen numbers graphed for 19 months up through July at SearchEngineWatch.



Filed under Ask.com, Coopetition, Google, Live Search, MSN, MSN Search, Microsoft, Windows Live, Yahoo

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Yahoo harshes the mellow for online ads

Posted by David Hunter at 7:41 PM ET.

Yahoos shares dropped today and pulled the market and shares of other search companies lower when it reported weakness in online ad revenue:

Yahoo Inc. said on Tuesday it expects third-quarter revenue at the bottom half of its forecast range due to weakness from two of its biggest advertising segments, sending shares down as much as 13 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker told investors at a Goldman Sachs media conference that Yahoo has seen “a little bit of weakness in the last few weeks” in auto and financial services advertising.

“It’s a new trend. It’s been two to three weeks and we don’t know yet if it’s an indicator of a broader slowdown,” Decker later told reporters at the conference.

Offhand, it’s easy to come up with reasons why financial services (think housing slowdown) and the auto industry (think US automaker difficulties) might not be advertising as much.

Automakers in particular have moved a large portion of their advertising to the Web in the last three years, but industry leaders like General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have been slashing billions of dollars in total costs as they grapple with losses in the North American market.

“It feels and smells like a macro” problem, rather than something specific to Yahoo or the Internet industry, said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with Global Crown Capital LLC.

“It would be naive to say that advertisers would continue to pour ahead on online advertising and cut back only on traditional advertising in the face of economic weakness,” he said.

Who knew that online advertising was subject to the ordinary laws of the market? Henry Blodget opines:

In coming days, a parade of analysts will eloquently explain why the trends that are hobbling Yahoo! won’t affect Google–Google’s revenue is pay-per-click, Google is a “must buy” for advertisers, Google has a much stronger market position, etc. Listen politely, but don’t believe it.

Google is now a $7 billion global business with one primary revenue stream: advertising. Google may do better in a recession than, say, a television network, but that doesn’t mean it will do well. $7 billion is a significant chunk of not only online advertising but all advertising, and if all advertising slows (or, worse, shrinks), Google’s revenue will, too.

I guess ad-supported software isn’t all upside.



Filed under Advertising, Ask.com, Coopetition, General Business, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

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