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Friday, October 10th, 2008

Major Player updates; Search Engine Turmoil

 

Pause Button Pressed on Yahoogle

As the time for implementation of the Google/Yahoo agreement drew near, there was little doubt that some sort of action by the US Dept. of Justice would surface. It remains to be seen what direction the DOJ will go, but there is obviously something happening behind the scenes.

On Friday, both search engine giants announced a delay in moving this initiative forward. This move seems contrary to the previous position of Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, which indicated that the deal would proceed as planned.

What this delay portends is still anyone’s guess. For now, the waiting game that kicked off in June will continue.

Will Yahoo Acquire AOL?

This has certainly been a busy and yet, unproductive year for Yahoo. Beginning with the failed takeover bid by Microsoft, followed by the looming uncertainty over the Google deal, one can only wonder what’s next.

While talk of a partial acquisition by Yahoo of AOL services has been ongoing for some time, nothing concrete has come about. The consensus seemed to be that this was a move designed to increase Microsoft’s offer for Yahoo, if not to thwart the takeover altogether. If that was the case, then it stopped making sense months ago.

Likely, Yahoo looks upon this potential acquisition as a way to expand both their content services and advertising revenue.

Despite indications of progress, details of these discussions seem as vague and uncertain as anything else involving Yahoo of late.

So far this year, we’ve seen Microhoo, Yahoogle and YAhOoL. I wonder if we’ll see YAskhoo! next.

Perhaps we should start a betting pool, winner take all if guessing the correct date when (if) Yahoo will actually successfully conclude one of their negotiations this year.

Microsoft Search Incentives

While Google innovates and Yahoo spins around in circles, Microsoft adds an unusual approach to gaining additional search market share.

Beginning last spring with the launch of the Cash Back program, Microsoft introduced the notion of search advertising rebate incentives. This allows advertisers a means of paying for advertising on a Cost per Acquisition (CPA) basis and buyers some savings on purchases. If you are unfamiliar with this, Techcrunch did a great analysis of this feature. While many had doubts about this approach, it appears to be working.

search perks logoLast week, Microsoft added to this type of service by releasing >SearchPerks!, another means of attracting traffic through a points-based reward system. While this is not a new concept, it certainly is unique in the search engine world.

Participating users can expect to receive rewards for redeeming saved up “tickets”. There are many types of rewards, such as air miles, music downloads and more. This is a limited time offer and sign up for participation expires on Dec 31, 2008.

While it’s too early to tell, some believe this idea does have potential.

No surprise to anyone, this feature is only available to Internet Explorer users. That leaves me out of this program. Like many people, not only do I find that browser (regardless which version) extremely annoying and frustrating to use, I resent Microsoft’s constant efforts to restrict compatibility for so many services and 3rd party applications to their browser alone.


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