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.
Some recent and (mostly) pertinent news of Microsoft competitors:
Google replaces MSN as 3rd most popular Web site according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Microsoft.com is still number 2 though – maybe they should consider some PPC ads!
RealNetworks, Google and Mozilla Announce New Agreement to Distribute Firefox Web Browser and Google Toolbar with the RealPlayer, Rhapsody music service, and RealArcade games. They had been distributing the toolbar for the past two years.
Google ads will stream out to XM listeners which I expect most folks will consider a questionable distraction. Google had already been playing in terrestrial radio.
Yahoo ties knot with Indian marriage portal. How much more social could networking get than marriage? Should Microsoft be working on Windows Live Matrimony?
Lycos revamps free Webmail service with 3GB mailboxes and no limit on file attachment sizes. This puts them one up on Yahoo Mail, Google GMail, and Microsoft’s Hotmail.
AOL to Give Services Away to Broadband Users, Hoping for a Fortune in Ads. It seems like everyone’s doing it, although it may not have been an option for AOL since they were leaking users anyhow as they moved to broadband. Could it be the Last Chance For AOL? Biggest shocker: AOL will no longer actively market dial-up accounts which likely means the end of the ubiquitous promotional CDs.
Germany hopes to establish ‘Linux Valley’. It’s centered around Nuremberg, the home of SuSE Linux.
Is it nostalgia for the 90′s or am I caught in a time warp? First, Microsoft reintroduces a warmed over bCentral, now Google has resuscitated the “build yourself a free home page service” concept with a spiffy AJAX Page Creator although mercifully without the annoying ads that were the hallmark of such services in the past. Chris Sherman has the details at SearchEngineWatch:
Google Page Creator is a web based application that uses a basic what-you-see is what-you-get style of interface, designed to allow anyone to create and publish web pages, regardless of skill or knowledge level.
Google Page Creator is a web-based application that runs on any computer or operating system. To use it, you must have a Google account and a Gmail address. Pages that you create are stored on Google servers using a URL convention of gmailname.googlepages.com.
Each user is provided with 100 megabytes of free storage space, and while there is a limit on the amount of bandwidth a site is allowed, Rosenstein says he doubts most people will ever reach the limit. The limit is primarily in place to foil the efforts of spammers, he said.
There are few restrictions on the type of content Google will allow users to publish, though Rosenstein said there won’t be any mechanisms for ecommerce or interactivity.
Pages hosted on Google Pages are ordinary web pages, and will be included in Google’s (and presumably other search engines) web index, though they won’t be given any special treatment in ranking.
Despite their best intentions, I think they are going to have a problem with various forms of abuse. However, a bigger question is, why? Google already has the free Blogger service for would-be webloggers, so the suspicion is that it’s market positioning against the wildly popular MySpace. If so, they are going to need more than a few generalized web site templates to play.
As for the other players, Yahoo and Lycos still have those golden oldies, GeoCities and Tripod, complete with the annoying ads. Microsoft has the free MSN Spaces blogging service, but nothing in this arena and it’s not clear that they should. The real question is if or how the big names are planning to compete with MySpace.