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Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

SEO Tip :: MSN Search by IP Number

Have you ever wanted to know what other sites share an IP number with your client? A search conducted using this format at MSN: ip: ###.###.###.###, will reveal all the sites in the MSN index hosted at that IP. Read more…

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Yahoo and MSN Speculation

The year opened with two major items regarding Yahoo. The first involves Microsoft, the second, MTV.

The LATimes, yes, the same publication that made a false start on rumours of Google computers, is reporting that Microsoft made an offer to buy Yahoo for $80 – $90 Billion. This is another thing that probably never happened. While highly unlikely, the rumour does shed light on a particular problem Yahoo and Microsoft both share, they want the same things but a common threat stands in the way, Google.

Yahoo is trying to become the primary online entertainment provider, a meta-network surpassing satellite broadcasting in range and choice. Yahoo is rumoured to be interested in buying Viacom, owner of MTV and a number of other mainstream media content creators. Along with their partnerships with music labels, other TV networks, and movie distributors, the purchase of Viacom would put Yahoo far beyond Google and Microsoft in the field of digital home entertainment.

Microsoft wants to continue to be the biggest thing ever and to do that; it needs to remain the operating system of choice in a rapidly changing world. To stay #1 means providing consumers with what they need, something both Google and Yahoo are almost but not quite capable of doing on their own.

The obvious piece of speculation, aside from the erroneous assumption they might buy Yahoo is an offer to partner up with Barry Diller at Ask Jeeves. On their own, Diller’s IAC has not yet capitalized on the potential of the fourth most popular search engine, MSN’s adCenter might have the technology and clout they need to even hope to compete against Google.

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…

It is that time of year again. Between the extra helpings of turkey soup and sandwiches, writers of every stripe are making lists of predictions for the coming twelve months. Last year, we got just over half our predictions correct. This year we hope to do as well or better but in an industry as dynamic and rapidly changing as the world of search, we couldn’t expect to hit a home run on every prediction. The only thing that is certain is the idea 2006 will be as or more interesting than 2005. Read more…

Jim is enroute for his Christmas vacation and I thought this news I came across was worth a short posting.

A program manager for Microsoft’s MSN division, Ian McAllister, has a personal blog that has an interesting tidbit of info… well gossip… possibly well-informed gossip considering where it is coming from. Read more…

AOL, which has been likened to a greased pig, has apparently slipped out of Microsoft’s grasp and was last seen running south towards the Googleplex.

Earlier today, Reuters and the Wall St. Journal (no link – sub. req.) reported that Time Warner, owner of AOL, has entered exclusive talks with Google, effectively shutting out MSN at the last minute. The story is based on information from an unnamed source said to be close to the negotiations. A similar story that ran in the Journal last week said MSN was very close to a deal with AOL. Read more…

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

A Look at Local Search

September has graduated into October and there is simply no more time to whine about a summer spent staring at the screen. Autumn is upon us and the retail world is gearing up for what should be the most wonderful time of the year. Not only is my birthday just two days away, Christmas is coming. With the traditional surge in consumer activity spurred by both events, I am curious about what is happening on the local search front. Read more…

Google and Microsoft appear to want many of the same things. Two years ago, when Microsoft saw that Google was threatening to dominate the Internet in much the same way Microsoft dominated the desktop, Microsoft began to move mountains to get into the search field. Since MSN released its own search tool earlier this year, the two firms have viewed the other as its chief rival and the competition between them has been tremendous. This summer, Google and Microsoft have been waging multiple battles across several fields from the courting of business in China to the courtrooms of King County. This week, a new battleground may be opening, this time in the Manhattan offices of Time Warner, the owner of AOL.

A September 15 New York Post article fueled speculation that Microsoft might be interested in acquiring a part of AOL and integrating it into MSN search. Today, rumours are circulating that Google is working to either block or outspend Microsoft’s bid. Compared with the other battles being waged between the two firms, the fight to own AOL could be a turning point for both companies.

It has been nearly six years since AOL purchased the Time Warner media empire for billions worth of stock certificates and just over five years since the bottom fell out of those stocks. Since that time, AOL has been the poor cousin in what had become the AOL Time Warner chain, performing so badly that the board of directors voted last year to remove the letters AOL from the corporate name.

In many ways, AOL has been synonymous with “second ran” for much of its existence. Its proprietary web browser, Netscape was all but destroyed by Microsoft almost ten years ago. Its user base, while still enormous, has been shrinking for several years. As an Internet Service Provider, most long-term web users liken AOL to training wheels for new-users. AOL has had few major successes in the past five years. The most obvious is the development of Firefox by the Mozilla Foundation, which AOL fostered but spun off two years ago. Another success, the reach of AOL’s advertising arm, is seen as the real prize being fought over by Microsoft and Google.

AOL provides Internet services to over 27-million people around the world. One of those services is a search-service and like most modern search services, AOL’s includes sponsored or paid advertising. Google provides search results and sponsored ads to AOL in an arrangement that supports about 12% of Google’s annual revenues. Google has long benefited from their partnership with AOL and will likely do whatever it takes to keep it.

Microsoft is very worried about the growth of Google and is determined to do whatever it can to emulate its success while hindering, slowing or stopping Google’s progress in key areas. A purchase of AOL would provide Microsoft’s MSN search division with two very powerful assets, the first being their own proprietary contextual advertising network, the second being a partnership of some sort with Time Warner (the world’s largest media conglomerate). The added bonus is the destabilizing effect of losing AOL on Google’s bottom line.

MSN needs to bulk up on its users if it is to be successful in paid-search. Gaining access to 27-million AOL members, along with millions of ICQ subscribers, CompuServe clients and AIM users, is a good way to very quickly increase an auditable user-base to serve paid-advertising to. Being able to tell potential advertisers that their ads might be viewed in the online editions of some of the world’s most popular print-magazines is a good way to boost advertising sales. Eating your competition’s lunch in the process is a priceless component to the deal that has obvious value in the long run.

In what might appear to be one of the highest stakes games of Monopoly ever played, AOL represents one of the few remaining high-power areas in which deals can be made, at least in the current configuration of the search game-board. Both Google and Microsoft would both see great benefits from an acquisition of AOL, including the virtual hobbling of the other.

Along with our colleagues in other parts of the tech sector, the search engine community is starting to respond to the devastation Hurricane Katrina left along the northern Gulf coast. Several blogs, forums and search tools have been redesigned, rewritten or refocused to aid in relief efforts. Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Lycos have all announced the development and implementation of tools to assist disaster victims and those who want to help. Read more…

A study of search results displayed at the four major search engines shows that each engine is increasingly producing results that differ from the other engines. In other words, searchers can be reasonably confident that Google, Yahoo, MSN or Ask Jeeves will, more often than not, return results unique to the engine being used. Read more…