There’s always something to howl about

Eric On MicroHoo vs Google

With the announcement today of the fact that the Department of Justice has approved the deal inked last summer between Microsoft and Yahoo, came a flood of e-mail into my inbox this afternoon.

“What does this mean for search?”

“What does it change?”

“Do we need to focus our organic search efforts more on Bing now that they are poised to power the results of Yahoo?”

” Will they be a REAL competitor of Google?”

“How will Google respond…or have they already?”

“How might this play out in the long run?”

Well, the truth of the matter is that I have been studying this on and off since last summer. Ironically, the Microhoo deal was announced while I was on my way to British Columbia to speak at the Real Estate Webmasters conference. The topic continued to be the buzz while I flew on to San Francisco to speak at Home Gain Live Nation. Why is that ironic? Well…I am just now finishing up the details of going to speak at the second HomeGain Nation Live event as well as going to speak on SEO at the RE/MAX convention. Gonna make for some fun times on the panel at HomeGain in the afternoon and some fun conversations at RE/MAX as well. I am stoked for both. But I know that interest will be there and questions will be asked by a lot of folks in the hallways… 😉

So while I have a lot to say about the merger (after all, I am the nerdy “read the patent applications, hiring patterns and etc sort of a search engine enthusiast…hehe), I am going to embargo most all of it until I speak at these events. I will say the following:

1. Competition is good. It inspires innovation and spurs creativity if it is TRULY competitive.
2. Bing has some MAJOR relevance issues with their search results that need to get cleared up.
3. Google has a whopping lead in market share currently will the combination of two non competitors automagically transform them into a competitor?
4. How much leverage does Microsoft’s vast market presence in the PC market give them? Do you still Bing because your PC came loaded with it?
4. Yahoo has used paid inclusion in its organic search results in the past, making them ummm less than organic. 😉
5. Users crave relevant results for every search that they do across the entire spectrum of searches that they do.
6. Will search tools now provided by Yahoo still be there this time next month??

None of this has changed in the past 7 or 8 months.

We (in the search industry)have known this day was coming. The basic principles of search engines do not change with this merger much like the fact that the laws of gravity still apply if Boeing merged with Airbus.

There are still hundreds of variables in the algorithms employed by search engines. There are still only so many of those variable that are RELIABLE indicators of an authoritative website on a specific subject.

So while it is fun to speculate, that is not what I am paid to do with search marketing. At its core, I am paid to consult with clients on how to adapt, quickly and efficiently to the REAL conditions on the ground and in the results.

I am going to now open the floor to collective dog pound.

What think ye, hounds?

What are your thoughts now that a Bing powered Yahoo search is (essentially) days away? What does it mean in the real estate industry? Does anything REALLY change?


7 Comments so far

  1. Ryan Ward February 19th, 2010 8:51 pm

    I think I’ll start buying keyword stuffed domains and reciprocating links again like the old days.

    That’s how you rank on Bing, isn’t it?

  2. Eric Blackwell February 20th, 2010 6:54 am

    (grin) Thanks for a little tongue in cheek fun this morning! Much needed! Hope things are going well for you in the ATL. 😉


  3. Joe February 20th, 2010 7:34 am

    What I find interesting about this whole thing is the amount of money Bing is willing to put into marketing to market their search. Most folks are not tech-savvy and will simply switch search engines if one promises something they like.

  4. Sean Purcell February 20th, 2010 8:24 am

    Based on your questions and the way you phrased them, I’m guessing Google stays on top for the foreseeable future.

    (I think they’re eventual downfall will be less due to competition and more driven by uneasiness with the whole “Big Brother” vibe that’s slowly spreading. If someone develops a similar service(s) but markets the hell out of the fact that their service(s) doesn’t collect and resell every last bit of data on your private life… just a thought.)

  5. Eric Blackwell February 20th, 2010 9:52 am

    @Joe – that is definitely an advantage to Bing. The $100 Million or so spent on advertising that Ballmer spent was IMO one of the best ad buys in history. 😉 Beats the heck out of what they were going to spend for Yahoo.

    @Sean – hey there (did you get my email? 😉 )…I agree with you as well. The Big brother vibe is a big strike against Google and will be yet another advantage to Bing.

    (grin)I hope I did not phrase it one way to hard or the other. I think both competitors have major obstacles to overcome in gaining ground on each other. One just has a big lead. Will be fascinating to see what they do. Will M-hoo be willing to make the changes needed to gain ground on G? Marketing alone will not do it. 😉

  6. Jennifer Giraldi February 21st, 2010 12:32 pm

    Hey Eric, your statement about Bing having major relevence issues is dead on. When Microsoft started airing all of those “decision engine” commercials I gave it a try for a few days. Boy was it terrible. Most of my search results were not even close to what I was looking for. How does Yahoo and Microsoft expect to compete when their algo seems to favor annoying spammy results??

  7. JIm Whatley February 21st, 2010 1:46 pm

    I think what will always win out is quality content. What does everyone look for? The best answer to their search or question.