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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Google, AOL, Extend Search Deal

For many years now AOL search results, both organic and paid, were powered by Google. Now with a deal announced by AOL – none of that is going to change.

This morning AOL announced the renewal and expansion of their global partnership. The five-year renewal will include a broad range of features to both improve and expand the products and services. Read more…

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. Read more…

About three years ago Google took on a 5% stake at AOL for a whopping $1 Billion. Today Google is not so sure that the investment was a good choice.

While they are not saying the value they believe the investment is worth, they are certainly not pleased by the past decision.

“Based on our review, we believe our investment in AOL may be impaired. After consideration of the duration of the impairment, as well as the reasons for any decline in value and the potential recovery period, we do not believe that such impairment is ‘other-than-temporary’.” Google noted in their lengthy 10-Q on June 30, 2008.

AOL apparently has also been looking for potential buyers – Certainly MSN and Yahoo have been in consideration, but one must wonder, that even if they think their $1billon investment may have been a bad idea, would they be willing to buy out AOL to keep it out of Yahoo and Microsoft’s hands? Time will tell.

AOL Time Warner had acquired Bebo, one of the largest social networks outside of North America. Bebo is huge in both the U.K. and New Zealand. It’s the third biggest social network in the U.S. after MySpace and Facebook and for AOL it “positions us to offer advertisers even greater reach and marketers significant insights into the desires and needs of consumers.” With 4.1 billion supposed to be spent on social network advertising by 2011 it’s understandable why the major players want to secure a spot on these sites.

Myspace mobile has been officially launched and people using this social network can use this site to connect with one another on the go.

Mobile phone search is reaching large proportions and search engine’s are well aware of this trend and are finding new ways of speeding up this process. This article has a good rundown of “a Google search plug-in that puts a search box on the “home screen” of the phone and reduces the time it takes to get there (to Google) and get results.”

Searches on question and answer web sites have risen by almost 1000% compared with use on these sites two years ago. “The popularity of user-generated media has helped to establish a category for social knowledge.” Helping on Q & A sites is also a web marketing strategy where sharing your knowledge of a particular subject can bring traffic and awareness to you because of your good answers.

Friday, November 9th, 2007

AOL Acquires Quigo

According to Business Week, AOL has acquired pay per click search engine Quigo for a reported $300 million. The acquisition includes the AdSonar and Feedpoint platforms.

Quigo has been serving up ads for a number of properties, and with the success they have been having, saw the potential and went forward with the purchase.

The deal which is expected to close later this year, will allow for expansion of their contextual advertising on AOL as well as their partner sites. For the time being, Google will continue to provide AdWords ads alongside AOL search results.

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

How Safe is Your Search?

Roughly 4 percent of all search results display links to potentially dangerous websites, according to a report published by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, on Monday. The report notes that Yahoo results are the riskiest with AOL leading the pack as having the safest results.

Over the past year, both organic and sponsored links have seen an increase in safety, however, the biggest change is seen within sponsored listings. On average the number of risky links declined from 8.5% in May 2006, to 6.9% in May of this year. Organic results saw a drop from 3.1% down to 2.9%. Read more…

The search engine, web portal formerly known as America Online has changed its name to that of its acronym, AOL.

“Our company long ago accomplished the mission implied by our old name. We literally got America online,” said Jon Miller, chairman and chief executive of AOL LLC, in an interview with Associated Press.

This is the fourth time the company has changed its name. Formed in 1985 as Quantum Computer Services, it changed its name to America Online Inc. in 1991. Ten years later, it bought the Time Warner media empire and changed its name to AOL Time Warner in 2001. Three months after the purchase, the bottom fell out of the tech market and the name AOL became a liability on the larger corporation. It was later dropped from the Time Warner banner.

Time Warner is making AOL a limited liability company, removing its corporate status, hence the name AOL LLC. Miller added, “Our new corporate identity better reflects our expanded mission – to make everyone’s online experience better.”

Around here, we’re just going to keep calling it AOL.

For years, the major search engines have been building membership lists by offering a diverse range of services to registered users. Yahoo and MSN, for instance, have offered email accounts to registered users for several years. The major search engines are working to brand user experiences on as many levels as possible and claim memberships as indicators of user loyalty.

The membership race heated up dramatically over the past two years with the introduction of Google’s wide array of membership driven services. Read more…

Many search commentators have connected the rapid drop in Google’s share-values with their recent tussle with the US Department of Justice over its refusal to share search-records with the Government. As far as I can tell, the only thing connecting the two is the coincidence of timing.

As anyone with even a remote interest in search knows, the legal drama unfolding between Google and the DOJ fell out from the closet and into the public realm early last week, nearly a year after the DOJ initial request was complied with by Google’s rivals, Yahoo, MSN and AOL. Of the four major search engines in the United States, Google was the only one to resist the US Governments demand for information on searches conducted by its users.

Within days of the story breaking, Google share prices began to fall, showing a sustained decline for the first time since the search firm went public in August 2004. The sudden drop sent search journalists scurrying to their keyboards to make the unsubstantiated connection between the court case and the value of Google stocks.

What these commentators are neglecting to mention is that investors are becoming wary of the search sector, seeing the bulk of revenues coming from the single source of paid search advertising. Although Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing continue to shower shareholders with positive results, Yahoo’s most recent financial numbers, filed last week, just before the Google share drop started, came in one-cent below investor expectations.

The dust-up between Google and the US Department of Justice is very important and something all search engine users should pay very close attention to; however, it is not likely the root cause of the drop in investor confidence in the search sector. Perceived instability in the long-term business model is far more likely the reason investment management firms and the investors who rely on their advice appear bearish about Google this week.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

State of Search Marketing 2006

Happy New Year everyone! After a two-week slowdown, the North American business world is gearing up to its general terminal velocity. In the high-tech environment we work in, terminal velocity often appears to approach the speed of light. Being human beings however, we are not capable of moving as fast as light. Our working environment moves or changes faster than we can possibly keep up with. Read more…