OMG Yahoo Gets OMG.com For Cheap

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

Yahoo has been active in the domain buying and selling space the past few months. Today, it was revealed to be the buyer of OMG.com, which sold last week for $80,000, according to Domain Name Wire.

It’s a great domain, and a really, really great price especially considering the image-centric TMZ.com-rival it has called yes, OMG. (Note: I had no idea it actually existed, at least partially because it didn’t have the omg.com domain — well, and also cause I’m not into celebrity gossip. But supposedly, it’s big.)

Of course, Yahoo has a history of obtaining good domain names and doing nothing or next to nothing with them. It sold contests.com in June for $380,000 after sitting on it for many years. It also sold WP.com to WordPress parent Automattic in April of this year.

Given the numbers for recent sales, it does seem like Yahoo scooped OMG.com for a bargain basement price. As we said, it sold contests.com for $380,000, which also seemed cheap at the time when you compare it to something like candy.com, which sold for $3 million in June. And in February, toys.com sold for $5.1 million.

Sure, “OMG” is not even really a word, but it has become a common phrase in pop culture and would seem to be worth more than $80K in a world where candy.com sells for $3M — especially since it’s only 3 letters.

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Which Search Engine Do You Choose In The Blind Test?

Posted on August 9, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet Market, Microsoft, Yahoo | Tags: , , , , |

By Michael Arrington, Tech crunch

blind search engine

 you tried out this blind search tool yet? It provides results from Google, Yahoo and Bing in three columns but doesn’t tell you which column is which search engine. You then tell it which one you think shows the best results, and you then see which answers are from which engines. I keep choosing Yahoo as the best results.

A few search engine experts we’ve spoken with over the years say that users tend to think Google results are better just because they’re from Google. If you take any search engine and put the logo on top, it tests better. So Yahoo results with a Google logo will always test better than, say, Google results with the Yahoo or Bing logo. People are just used to thinking about Google as the best search.

This search tool strips out all the branding, so you’re forced to really think about which results you like better. And early results showed a much more even distribution than Google’s 70% market share would suggest: Google: 44%, Bing: 33%, Yahoo: 23%.

The score keeping feature was removed when people found a way to game it, but you can still run the test against yourself and see which search engine you really like the best. Too bad the one I seem to like will shortly be mothballed.

The tool was created by Michael Kordahi, a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft.

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Yahoo’s Newspaper Consortium Keeps Growing

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Yahoo | Tags: , , , , |

By Erick Schonfeld, Techcrunch.com

yahoo-logoEven as Google is cancelling its experiment with newspaper advertising, Yahoo is expanding its newspaper consortium. Today, Yahoo is announcing that it is adding two new members: The Boston Globe and the St. Petersburg Times. That brings the consortium up to 38 media companies, representing 793 total newspapers, up from 635 newspaper partners a year ago, and 176 at launch in November, 2006

Yahoo’s newspaper strategy has seen success because, unlike Google, it never tried to get into the business of selling print ads. Instead, Yahoo focused on helping newspapers get more traffic to their Websites. One way it does this is by showing article headlines from partner newspapers across Yahoo-owned properties, including the home page, Yahoo News, and Yahoo Mobile. Over the past year and a half, these links have delivered 200 million clicks or views to the partner newspaper sites, including some that have reached a million views for an individual story, such as this one about puppies saving a three-year old. (Puppies sell newspapers).

HotJobs is being used by 600 of those newspaper Webistes. And Yahoo also helps 120 of the newspapers with online ad management, through its Apt ad management system, which allows the newspapers to tap into Yahoo’s advertising inventory when they cannot sell the the inventory themselves. This won’t save the newspaper industry, but at least it is a bright spot. Or is Yahoo simply taking share in a dying business?

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Yahoo’s Inquisitor Makes Search Shine On The iPhone

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: iPhone, Yahoo | Tags: , , , |

By Erick Schonfeld, Techcrunch.com

inquisitor-iphone

Last May, Yahoo acquired a startup called Inquisitor which offers a search plug-in for all the major browsers. Today, Inquisitor is available as an iPhone app and it shows how certain features, such as Yahoo’s Search Assist, really shine on a mobile device where you want to keep your typing to a minimum.

When you start typing a search in Inquisitor, a list of suggested keywords automatically appears below (just as it does on Yahoo’s regular search engine on the Web). The more letters you type, the more refined the suggestions become, allowing you to select one before completing the word in the search box. Results are presented in large, easy-to-read gray boxes, with favicons and two lines worth of text. Abbreviated news results from two sources appear at the very top if they are available, and can be clicked through to see only news results.

Once you click through to a Webpage or article, it is framed by the app. A toolbar at the top allows you to return to your search, making for more fluid navigation. You can always escape the app to view the app in the iPhone’s regular Safari browser as well. There is also an option for emailing links.

Despite all the advances in mobile Web devices, they are still constrained. Features that simplify navigation or remove unnecessary steps can still be the difference between a usable app and one that you never return to. Inquisitor is one app on the iPhone I will be returning to when I want to do searches, which is often.

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Twitter = YouTube.

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By John Battelle

What? Is Battelle crazy? Hear me out. Think back when YouTube was growing like a weed, and Google snapped it up. Most folks (including me) saw this as Google “getting into the video business,” and sure, that in fact was one part of the equation. But as we all know, making money from consumer driven video ain’t a cakewalk, and hosting that video is really, really expensive. So why did Google really buy YouTube? My answer, which of course looks brilliant given it’s 20/20 hindsight: YouTube was a massive search asset.

Afterall, YouTube now gets more searches than Yahoo, Google’s closest search rival.

So think about that. YouTube was the single fastest growing new form of search on the Web, and Google pretty much outflanked (and outspent) everyone to buy it. Not to get into video monetization, per se, but to harvest and control the most important emerging form of search. In short, Google could not afford to NOT own YouTube.

So, fast forward to today. What’s the most important and quickly growing form of search on the web today? Real time, conversational search. And who’s the YouTube of real time search? Yep. Twitter. It’s an asset Google cannot afford to not own, and also, one they most likely do not have the ability (or brand permission) to build on their own. (Remember, Google tried to build its own YouTube – Google Video – and it failed to get traction. A service like Twitter is community driven, and Google has never been really great at that part of the media business).

That means Google most likely really, really wants to buy Twitter. (So does Facebook, but we’ll get to that in a second). The great twist: Evan and Biz, two of the key co founders of Twitter, have already sold a company to Google (Blogger) and most likely are not keen to do it again. Nor do they have to, given their recent funding and the money they made from pre-IPO Google options.

Add in the fact that Twitter has already said no to a $500mm offer from Facebook, and the fact that Facebook has responded quickly with by opening up its Live Feed status API, and we’ve got a very interesting year ahead of us in the Internet biz. I’ll be watching closely.

Source: battellemedia

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Do You Want Your Search Experience Personalized?

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Google, SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , |

By Chris Crum

In recent months, there has been a whole lot of talk about where search is going, and what search is lacking. This is commonplace for months encompassing the changing of years.

A big part of the discussion is personalized search. Many SEOs aren’t entirely thrilled with the idea. It changes the way they have to do things. Do searchers want it though?

According to Yahoo, one of the three major things searchers want is a personalized search experience. This is one of the topics discussed in this interview with Larry Cornett, VP, Consumer Products, Yahoo:

However, it is Google’s SearchWiki that has gotten the most attention when it comes to personalized search. Whether or not everybody uses SearchWiki’s features, Google feels like SearchWiki stands to make Google itself better.

At the recent SMX West show, SearchWiki manager Corey Anderson said that SearchWiki allows the company to conduct user studies in the field and crunch user feedback. For example, Google has discovered that a large fraction of users are attempting to re-find sites they previously visited.

It is still early in the year, and you can pretty much guarantee that there will be more advances made no the personalized search front. Do you as a search engine user want your experience to be more tailored to your own patterns and habits?

Source: webpronews

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Microsoft Chief Still Stuck on Yahoo

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Microsoft, Tech News, Yahoo | Tags: , , , |

Yahoo may have a new chief, but Steven A. Ballmer appears to be getting the same cold shoulder.

As Mr. Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, give a fairly grim outlook for 2009 at a strategic update on Tuesday, CNBC was reporting that Microsoft has been repeatedly “rebuffed” and “ignored” in its attempts to reach some kind agreement with Yahoo that would allow them to compete better with Google on the Internet.

But he apparently isn’t giving up hope that he can get Carol A. Bartz, who recently succeeded Jerry Yang as Yahoo’s chief, to the negotiating table.

Mr. Ballmer said Tuesday that he would like to talk with Ms. Bartz to see if the two companies could “somehow get together and find out how to provide more competition” with Google, TheStreet.com reported.

Microsoft failed last year in its unsolicited bid to buy Yahoo outright. But since then, Mr. Ballmer has repeatedly said he would like to reach a search deal with Yahoo, which, like many other Internet companies, is struggling with weak revenues from display advertising.

Mr. Yang, who helped found Yahoo, was said to favor a stand-alone strategy for the Web company. But Ms. Bartz’s views on a Microsoft deal aren’t well known yet.

It’s not for lack of trying: Analysts repeatedly asked Ms. Bartz about a potential Microsoft deal last month, when she spoke on her first Yahoo quarterly conference call.

“Everything is on the table,” she said at the time. But she also added: “This is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens.”

Microsoft’s latest overtures to Yahoo have been in vain, according to
Jim Goldman, CNBC’s Silicon Valley bureau chief. Citing undisclosed sources, he reported Tuesday that Microsoft executives have been increasingly frustrated that there has been “no progress whatsoever” on a Yahoo search deal.

Source: NYTimes

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Yahoo Launches Trio Of Tools For Advertisers

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , |

By Mike Sachoff

Yahoo has introduced three new tools aimed at making it easier for advertisers to target users based on their online behavior.

Yahoo’s Search Retargeting tool allows advertisers to offer display ads to users based on searches for particular keywords on Yahoo.

The company’s Enhanced Retargeting tool offers personalized display ads to users who have recently visited an advertiser’s site. Yahoo says in a recent trial, an online travel company saw a 230 percent increase in total bookings and a 651 percent increase in click-through rate using its Enhanced Retargeting tool.

Yahoo Search Marketing will also introduce Enhanced Targeting that allows advertisers to offer ads based on the time of day and user demographics. The Enhanced Targeting tool is expected to launch in March.

Yahoo’s newest advertising offerings comes on the heels of its Rich Ads in Search initiative announced last week, that allows advertisers to add video, images and custom search boxes to their ads. The program is currently available to advertisers by invitation only.

“As the economy continues to put pressure on advertising budgets, marketers are looking for increased accountability for every dollar they spend,” said Michael Walrath, senior vice president, Advertising Marketplaces Group, Yahoo!.

“Yahoo!’s new targeting products significantly improve the ability for search and display advertisers to reach their target audience, providing increased efficiency and accountability.”

Source: webpronews

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Google, Yahoo, Microsoft All Show Search Gains

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Google, Microsoft, SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , , |

by Chloe Albanesius

Whether they’re searching for jobs or video clips of Britney Spears, Americans conducted 13.5 billion online searches at the core search engines in January, the majority of which were done via Google, according to Wednesday data from comScore.

About 63 percent of January searches were done through Google-owned sites, with 21 percent using Yahoo, and 8.5 percent using Microsoft sites.

Though Google’s core search ranking dropped slightly from 63.5 to 63 percent, overall Google sites – including YouTube – attracted 11.7 billion searches, up 5 percent from December. Yahoo saw a 10 percent increase with 2.9 billion searches, and Microsoft inched up about 9 percent with 1.2 billion.

For searches only on the main search page, Google.com attracted 8.5 billion hits, Yahoo.com had 2.8 billion, and MSN.com had 1.14 billion.

Though holiday sales helped boost Amazon’s earnings, its search engine did not fare as well, dropping 4 percent to 196 million searches.

Craigslist saw a 28 percent jump with 497 million searches, while eBay was up 8 percent with 541 million, and Facebook jumped 21 percent with 195 million.

Source: pcmag.com

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Yahoo 2.0: Richer ads and a tiny piece of Google’s audience

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Google, Microsoft, SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , , |

by Sam Diaz

Yahoo is getting ready to throw richer advertisements – think video – into its search results page, bringing a much-needed facelift to the boring ads that are made up of a headline, a couple of lines of text and a link.

More importantly, Yahoo – now under new management – may be telling us that they’re not quite ready to sell off the search business to Microsoft, as has been suggested across the blogosphere for months. When new CEO Carol Bartz came on board last month, it was one of the first questions she faced.

Months ago, selling off search seemed to be the best thing that Yahoo execs could do. But, as Larry Dignan pointed out in a post following Yahoo’s second quarter earnings announcement, search may be the recession buffer for Yahoo.

But now, there’s new life in search advertising for Yahoo. The rich ads are still being tested by a handful of invited advertisers, such as Pedigree and Esurance. But now that the program is gearing up for a broader rollout, Yahoo is starting to pitch the benefits. The company says rich ads allow customers to:

•  Post images and video, which can increase the branding impact of search advertising. Pedigree has added video to its campaigns, for instance.
•  Create deep links to relevant pages, which can help drive conversions directly from the Yahoo! search results page.
• Include boxes within the listing that lets users search for their desired product or a store location directly without additional navigation. Esurance’s listing lets users enter their ZIP codes from the results page for insurance quotes.
•  Show their logo, which enhances user trust.

Mixing up that section of the search results page is a good idea. I love a good video and might be willing to click on one that’s part of an ad. If it’s really creative or funny, I might even share it with friends – which is what I already do with video, whether it’s an ad or not.

For Yahoo, there’s also that whole momentum thing. Comscore this week reported its U.S. search engine rankings for January 2009 and found that, while Google remains the leader, Yahoo saw strong growth from December to January in three categories – search share, search queries and expanded search queries – compared to Google.

For search share, Yahoo’s gain – only a mere 1/2 percent, mind you – was also Google’s loss: the same one half of one percent. In search queries, Yahoo gained 9 percent, compared to Google 6 percent. And in expanded search queries, Yahoo jumped 10 percent, compared to Google’s 5 percent.

I don’t know if that says something more about Google than it does about Yahoo. After all, even Microsoft saw better growth than Google.

Regardless, the gains aren’t huge and Yahoo’s rich ads still aren’t quite ready for widespread rollout. But, I have to say, it’s refreshing to see Yahoo news that has more to do with enhancing the company than it does with saving it.

Source: zdnet

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Yahoo Shows Search Ads With Images and Video

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , , , , |

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Yahoo is introducing a new type of search advertising that integrates images and video in paid listings, the company plans to announce Thursday.

Search advertising typically shows only text advertisements and links. Marketers usually devote part of their online budget to search — which shows text-only advertisements and links — and part to display, the banner and box advertisements that show images or video.Yahoo

By introducing video and images, the new offering from Yahoo, called Rich Ads in Search, gives search some of the advantages of banner advertisements. “It moves the advertising experience from just the blue links, to a more engaging experience for advertisers,” said Tim Mayer, the vice president for search monetization and distribution at Yahoo.

Yahoo has been trying to win back paid search advertising from the market leader, Google. Yahoo’s market share in paid search has fallen from 13.8 percent in 2004, to 10.5 percent this year, according to the research firm eMarketer. In the same time period, Google’s market share has more than doubled, from 32.8 percent in 2004, to 67.7 percent this year.

Yahoo’s strength has been its display advertising, where it sells boxes and banners on its highly trafficked pages. However, as the recession has deepened, many advertisers have shifted money to search, which gives them direct, measurable results.

Yahoo’s fourth-quarter results, reported in January, reflected that change. Search revenue was up 11 percent, and display revenue was down 2 percent.

Yahoo has been testing its offering with advertisers like the dog-food company Pedigree. A search for “Pedigree” on Yahoo turns up a light-blue box at the top of the search-results page holding an image from a Pedigree commercial, which plays when clicked.

“Video is always more powerful than just words on the page,” said John Anton, the marketing director at Pedigree. “It’s definitely compelling to us to have options like this, where, when you type in ‘Pedigree,’ you get more than just the words, you get the video itself.”

Yahoo can also include images — a search for Staples results in a similar light-blue box with the company’s logo on the side. Or, it can include a search box within the light-blue space, asking the visitor to enter his ZIP code, then taking him to the section of the advertiser’s Web site that lists bank branches or car dealerships near him, for example.

“What the search results look like is a very different experience with rich ads in search versus the text link,” said Joanne Bradford, Yahoo’s senior vice president for revenue and market development in the United States. “There is consistency to the experience, which all advertisers want, and were unable to get until this point.”

Yahoo is charging a monthly fee for the service, versus the auction-based pricing of search advertising, which Mr. Mayer said Yahoo might use in the future. For now, it is allowing only certain large, brand-focused advertisers — which have existing commercials or logos — to participate in the program. SoBe, Pepsi and Home Depot were all part of the pilot program.

According to Yahoo, some advertisers in the pilot program saw an improvement by as much as 25 percent in click-through rates. Karin Blake, the senior search manager at the ad agency Razorfish, who tested the offering for some of her clients, saw slightly less significant results: she said her clients had a 5 to 10 percent increase in click-through rates compared with a regular text ad.

Still, the new type of search will probably be attractive to advertisers, who pay high prices to develop their commercials and logos, and want to be able to show those wherever they can.

“In a typical search landscape, you can’t utilize things like video and images, just because the nature of search listings is really text,” Ms. Blake said. “It does allow Yahoo to sort of put together a more robust offering.”

Ms. Blake said that “right now, there isn’t anything in the paid search landscape that either Google or Microsoft is offering” along these lines.

Even as Yahoo updates its search capabilities, it has been under pressure from Wall Street analysts to consider selling its search business to Microsoft. Recently, Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, has repeatedly expressed interest in such a deal.

Carol A. Bartz, the new chief executive of Yahoo, has not specified her plans for Yahoo’s search business.

“Maybe we should divest of some things, maybe we ought to focus a little more on the company,” she said in a conference call last month with investors. “So, yes, everything’s on the table,”

But, she added, “this is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens.”

Source: NYTimes

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Google Shows Healthy January Growth In U.S. Search Volume

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: Google, SEO | Tags: , , , , , , , |

by Erick Schonfeld

Google saw healthy growth in the number of search queries on its core U.S. search engine in January, according to comScore qSearch numbers that came out last night. Google’s query growth rate was 38.4 percent, compared to January, 2008, outpacing the industry’s overall 28.6 percent growth in search queries. Any way you slice it, people are still doing more and more searches, which suggests that the search market is far from saturated.

Compared to December, Google’s query growth rate slowed down slightly (from 42.8%). Yahoo, on the other hand, is the one standout among the major search engines in that its annual growth in search queries accelerated from 17.2 percent in December to 21.6 percent in January. All the other search engines saw a slowdown. (See first table below).

This resulted in Yahoo gaining half a percentage point in overall query market share to 21.0 percent, while Google’s market share dropped by the exact same amount month-over-month to 63.0 percent. Compared to a year ago, however, Google’s market share is still up 4.5 percentage points. (See second table below).

Beyond the core search engines, YouTube generated an estimated 2.92 billion searches in January, up 68 percent from the year before, and slightly up 2.4 percent from December. YouTube represents 24.9 percent of Google’s total searches, and on its own is a s big as Yahoo.

Y/Y Growth In Core U.S. Search Queries, January 2009 (Source: comScore qSearch)

Google 38.4%
Yahoo 21.6%
Microsoft 11.3%
Ask 4.6%
AOL 1.1%

U.S. Core Search Share, January 2009 (Source: comScore qSearch)

Google 63.0% -0.5% m/m +4.5% y.y
Yahoo 21.0% +0.5% m/m -1.2% y/y
Microsoft 8.5% +0.2% m/m -1.3% y/y
AOL 3.9% -0.1% m/m -1.0& y/y
Ask 3.7% -0.2% m/m -0.8% y/y

Click on the image below for a larger table showing stats going back a full year (courtesy of Douglas Anmuth at Barclays Capital).

search-share-table-jan-08

Source: techcrunch

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Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL search up; Google down

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: Aol, Google, Microsoft, SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , , , , |

by Dawn Kawamoto

Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL each carved out a little more U.S. search market share in January, but Google still had the biggest piece of the pie, according to a report Wednesday by ComScore.

Yahoo Web sites accounted for 21 percent of the market (up half a percent) compared to the month before, while Microsoft grabbed an 8.5 percent slice (up 0.2 percent), and AOL nabbed 3.9 percent of the market (a 0.1 percent increase).

Google, while still holding the largest slice of the market by far, accounted for 63 percent of the search industry in January, down half a percent.

One interesting observation from Silicon Alley Insider is Yahoo’s consecutive five-month run in posting modest monthly gains in U.S. search market share.

In August, for example, Yahoo’s market share stood at 19.7 percent, according to SIA. But in the past five months, it has steadily grown, garnering more than a 1 point increase during that time.

Source: news.cnet.com

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