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Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Microsoft Purchases Multimap

In an effort to compete with Google Maps and Google Earth, and to capture the traffic of one of the UK’s most visited websites, Microsoft has purchased online mapping service Multimap for an undisclosed sum.

According to a press release issued by Multimap on Dec 12, “Multimap will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft as part of the Visual Earth and Search teams in the Online Services Group.”

“The addition of Multimap enhances Microsoft’s position as a leading provider of mapping and location platform services,” said Sharon Baylay, general manager of the Online Services Group at Microsoft. “This acquisition will play a significant role in the future growth of our search business and presents a huge opportunity to expand our platform business beyond the U.K. and globally. We are thrilled to welcome Multimap onboard.”

Multimap is among of the UK’s top 100 tech companies, and is one of the leading online mapping services. Their services include street-level maps, road maps, door-to-door travel directions, aerial photos, and links to location information and services.

Wallstrip published a great newscast heralding, with some disbelief, that Microsoft’s stocks had just reached a 5 year high. The video is worth the watch and I followed it up with my less than glowing opinion on the mega-corporation’s current path.

Read more…

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

A Peek at Microsoft's Webmaster Tools

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Round Table posted screenshots of Microsoft’s Live Search Webmaster Portal in Beta. Head on over and check it out. So far nothing appears to be all that dissimilar to the other portals out there but it is still an interesting peek

Hello all. My name is Tim Rule and I’m the most recent addition to the StepForth team. I believe my current title is “Gopher”, but I’m preparing to take over PPC management from Scott in the very near future.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce myself to this blog by sharing an interesting thread I read in Slashdot this morning.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft has been fairly quick to recognize the long term threat to their dominant stature and have already taken steps towards addressing this.

With the XO not even released yet, I find it amazing the speed with which they have undertaken to insert themselves into this relatively recent initiative. It makes one wonder why they often seem so sluggish to resolve problems with their own products and yet find the energy to jump into new initiatives.

For those of you not familiar with the upcoming XO laptop you can learn more on this site.

Personally, I applaud this initiative and intend to pick up one of these myself. I can think of no globally worthwhile investment an individual can make to beat this. It is pretty hard to beat getting a warm, fuzzy feeling, a nifty new toy and a tax write off in one fell swoop.

I like the irony of the XO name as well.

On Monday Microsoft announced a new set of features had been rolled out within their Live Search platform:

Microsoft Corp. today announced the final updates to the fall release of its Live Search service, introducing a broad array of new services and features to its local and mobile search offerings. The new features and enhancements are designed to make it easier for people to find what they need at home or on the go through significant innovations in mapping, imagery and driving directions as well as new services to make the mobile search experience easy and powerful.

For more info check out their news release.

Friday, September 28th, 2007

How to Optimize for MSN

Last week I discussed the best tactics for achieving rankings in Yahoo, the web’s number 2 most popular search engine. Now it is time to pick on the third most used search property – MSN, which has 6.6% of the search market (src: Hitwise) and is currently found at MSN’s ranking algorithm has its own nuances which will be noted in this article but in many cases the rules of optimization may be the same as Yahoo’s in which case I will occasionally duplicate information from my “How to Optimize for Yahoo” article or source it for more information. Read more…

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Microsoft Attacks Google

Microsoft has attacked Google in a statement released on Monday. ZDNET reported the statement was released shortly after Google signed a deal with Capgemini to promote its office-productivity software.

The statement had 10 questions directed at Google App users and those considering the software. These questions addressed the perpetual beta stage for many of Google’s products as well as the minimal functionality for fundamental features such as headers, footers, and footnotes.

There has been no word on Google’s stance on this statement.

On Wednesday the news lines were afire as Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs announced a $200 price slash on the iPhone. Ever since the announcement there has been rampant speculation on Job’s move…

Why, why, why?

Well I came across a fantastic character profile on Bill Gates and Steve Jobs by Robert X. Cringely; a man with abnormally deep insight into both men. The article is fascinating and I strongly recommend the read. After all, these are two people who have serious influence over the technological world we live in.

Today Microsoft earned a win that made me look twice by convincing Digg to sign a 3 year deal where Microsoft Ads will be the “exclusive provider of display and contextual advertising on Digg” (see press release). Having previously used Google Adsense to serve ads (according to Barry Schwartz’s breaking article) it is a huge win for Microsoft to peg this contract. This immensity of this win became especially clear when I compared a few of the top social media voting sites side by side at As you can see below Digg pulverizes the competition with a reach of approximately 22.5 million visitors per month in comparison to Reddit (976,882), and StumbleUpon (731,424).

Charts or no charts, however you look at this agreement advertising with Microsoft Ads has just become a lot more tantalizing.

The latest figures from comScore are in and Microsoft is picking up speed.

While long standing search leader Google continues to dominate by a large margin, comScore reports Google losing some ground in June, while MSN saw a noticeable increase.

Latest figures for Google show a drop to 49.5%, down 1.2% from May. Yahoo also saw a decline of a little over a percentage point down 1.3 to 25.1%. Meanwhile Microsoft had a significant gain, up from its low 10.3 to a higher low of 13.2%. Ask remains unchanged at 5%.

In June Americans performed 8.0 billion online searches, which are up 6 percent from May, and up 26 percent from June 2006.

Interestingly enough, while both Google and Yahoo both saw a decrease in their percentage share for the month of June both search engines actually saw an increase in the actual number of searches conducted. With Microsoft’s nearly 3% jump, along with an increase in American searches, Microsoft experienced a spike in search volume up 36% over May, a substantial increase by any means.

Microsoft’s increase is partially credited to the introduction of the Live Search Club launched in late May, a program created to reward users of Live Search. Using their Windows Live ID and logging in to play games, and completing puzzles that involve searches users earn tickets which can then be redeemed for rewards.