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Is MSN better than Google? How does Ask Jeeves stack up against Yahoo? Which of the Big4 search firms produces the most relevant results? Those questions are difficult to answer as what is relevant to one searcher might not be particularly relevant to another. Search engines are the tools we use to thread the eye of the needles found in the universal haystack we know as the Net. Read more…

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the fifth largest in North America . There are more people in this city than there are in the entire province of British Columbia. It is also my home town so I was more than pleased to be asked to speak at the Toronto Search Engine Strategies Conference again this year. Read more…

Imagine this scenario. Too tired to cook after arriving home from a long day at work you call your local pizza shop to order two large pizzas and a bunch of soft drinks. You dial the number as usual and, instead of the familiar voice of Tony, the owner/pizza champion, a younger voice comes on the line. Read more…

Yahoo had a pretty good day yesterday.

Yahoo reported better than expected revenues in a first quarter report issued early yesterday. Yahoo’s earnings from January 1 to March 31 were $205 million, up from the $101 million they reported last year. Excluding money shared with search partners such as MSN, revenues were up almost 50% to $821 million.

Wall Street analysts had expected revenues around $797 million. When monies paid to search partners are included in Yahoo’s quarterly revenues, the number rises to $1.17 billion.

Yahoo has several revenue streams resulting from years of content development and numerous advertising programs. Paid-search in the form of contextually delivered ads makes up the greatest part of their income, responsible for about 45% of annual revenues.

Yahoo showed growth against every standard used to rate it. Domestic revenues in the US increased by 37% to $819 million from the $599 million reported last year. International revenues increased a dramatic 124% to $355 million from $159 million in early 2004. Yahoo Japan also posted record revenues last quarter, showing a 34% increase in revenues over the same period last year.

Yahoo has officially dropped the Overture brand name from its paid-search products. The company announced plans to drop the Overture name in the North American market at the beginning of March. Yahoo will phase out use of the brand internationally in the coming months though they will retain the Overture name in Japan and South Korea. Read more…

It was only a matter of time before someone took the problems associated with click-fraud to court. In February, a group of advertisers quietly filed a lawsuit against Google, Yahoo, Time Warner (AOL), Ask Jeeves, Disney, Lycos, LookSmart and FindWhat. Read more…

Yahoo has been on an upgrading spree recently with a major acquisition, two major upgrades and a beta-release of a new blogging tool. It’s no secret the execs and techs at Yahoo have been working overtime to re-brand and upgrade Yahoo’s various services. Yahoo has made several major announcements over the past four weeks, a measure of how active they have been recently. Here is a quick rundown of the four major announcements made in the past seven days. Read more…

Search Engine Watch receives regular statistics on search engine usage from Neilson Net Ratings. Neilson Net Ratings gathers data from over one million Internet users in the United States with Neilson software installed on their home and work computers that records every site visited. Measuring three unique metrics, these stats provide a present and historic view of search engine usage. Read more…

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

Gmail Going Live April 1st

According to dozens of Google-watchers, Google’s ad-driven email system, Gmail is slated to move from beta to live-status on Friday April 1st, one year after it was introduced to a limited number of testers. On its first day, many thought Gmail was an April Fool’s joke.

To establish the initial beta-test group, Google issued a number of initial invitations to a very small group of users that day. It also sent each of those users six invitations to send to friends who where also issued six invitations with their beta account. Gmail grew its potential test group by a factor of six every time it gave away a new beta-account. For the past two weeks, Google has been randomly inviting users of its search engine to sign up for Gmail accounts with a discreet link that appears for about 1 in 100 users. Read more…

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

MSN Enters Paid Search Market

MSN has added a second pillar to its new search division and a new threat to rivals Google and Yahoo with today’s introduction of its own paid-advertising program, MSN Paid Search Solution. Read more…