Earlier today, I on the announcement of a Microsoft/Yahoo! search pact. I asked some fellow Search Agents to consider the potential impact of this agreement on the industry, the companies involved, advertisers, and searchers:
Mike Jarvinen | Senior Director, Strategic Programs: “As an agency, we like to see competition in the space - helping to guarantee the best pricing for our clients. Of note, TSA is well positioned to harness performance through the Bing-Yahoo partnership – my team feels that we’ve been able to leverage our internal best practices to over-perform for our clients in the Bing marketplace.
Darren Kelly | VP, Social Media: “The one thing I hope survives out of the Yahoo ashes is the Search Monkey ‘enhanced results’ program. This was the ability to complement each search result listing with additional relevant information, such as related blog posts or user reviews from message boards. Including ‘the crowd’s’ viewpoint on each listing is a very cool idea, and provides real benefit to a user trying to assess the validity of a search result.”
Thomas Seiler | Director, Feed Services: “I do not foresee implications for retailers as shopping.yahoo.com is part of the Yahoo! portal and not affected by the search technology. The future of the Paid Inclusion program (aka SSP) remains open. Most likely Yahoo! will not give up this source of revenue light-heartedly – but Microsoft might not like the idea of having the integrity of their search results threatened by SSP listings. So for foreseeable future, Paid Inclusion will remain status quo and advertisers can continue to benefit from unique messaging options within organic listings and improving their rankings participating in SSP.”
Otto | Chief Research Officer & EVP, Search Engine Optimization: “I think the biggest question of all is the future for SSP (Paid Inclusion). Is Yahoo going to use the Microsoft results as they do their own organic results and merge them with SSP listings? Or, are they going to completely replace Yahoo search with Bing results and eliminate the SSP program? If it is up to Microsoft, I sincerely doubt that they will want to skew their results, and damage the reputation of their results, by integrating questionable paid inclusion listings. If SSP is retired, this can be a huge boost in traffic for web sites that are currently having their SERPs pushed out of rankings by the integrated paid inclusion listings.” Otto’s complete post on the topic can be found here .
Mike Solomon | Sr. Director, Integrated Marketing Solutions: “If you peel back the onion, Project Panama was a catastrophic failure and the downfall of Yahoo. In making this deal with Microsoft, they throw away the product they spent years building on top of the $1.63 billion they spent for Overture in 2003. It would take years of revenue at even an 88% rev share (with no COGS) to fill up that hole. Not sure what choice they really had and all they can do is look forward and hope that in combining forces with Microsoft they can make a dent into Google’s 67% worldwide market share.”
Grant Simmons | Director, SEO Account Management: “I think the partnership is great news for the search industry. Less competition in this case *does* mean more competition. I just wish Microsoft would spend their $100 million ad budget on improving the relevance of their search as opposed to just saying how good they are (or plan to be!) As I often refer to relevance as "The Holy Grail of Search," I'm imagining Spamalot 's King Arthur ‘riding’ on stage with coconut clapping knave in tow, looking at the audience and saying, ‘I haven't found the Holy Grail, but I have spent a lot of money looking for it!’ Until Bing / Yahoo demonstrates the value in their search results, and actually starts comparing relevance against Google (and showing it's better), I can further imagine Google as the French Knights in Spamalot yelling from their castle's battlement ‘Now go away, or we shall taunt you some more.’” Read Grant’s complete post .
And my 2 cents:
Alec Green | VP, Marketing: “This agreement makes sense in that it enables each company to focus on their core competencies. Yahoo is a media company with the expertise is in gathering eyeballs, monetizing content, and selling to advertisers. Microsoft is a technology company with the resources to develop a comparable or superior search engine to Google. Hopefully the joined forces will produce a better experience for searchers and superior returns for advertisers.“
For additional opinion and insight on the agreement, check out Part II  of our Binghoo roundtable.
Please leave a comment and share with us your thoughts on the Yahoo!/Microsoft agreement.