Microsoft’s pursuit of search giant, Google, has intensified so much that many believe the recent antitrust complaints filed against Google were triggered by none other than Microsoft. It’s somewhat ironic considering Microsoft has had their fair share of antitrust more info
complaint history. Microsoft has responded that Google should address the complaints first and foremost rather than point fingers at them.
With the recent Microsoft-Yahoo merger, it will now be even more interesting to see how the search market competition plays out.
The U.S. Department of Justice has officially approved the Yahoo!-Microsoft alliance.
Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, will provide the search results for Yahoo! enabling Microsoft to have the best chance at taking down industry-giant, Google. The transition in the search results is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Google’s commanding share of the search market (71%) has prompted Yahoo! to regroup and add new features to their consumer and advertising platforms. Yahoo has expressed a plan to add video results to their primary search results instead of just keywords and links. Search results will also appear below Yahoo! emails. The results will be related to the email content to some extent. Yahoo! Search Marketing advertisers are now able to import Google AdWords campaign data directly to their Yahoo! campaign.
Yahoo! is certainly struggling with only 15% of the search market in their grasp. With Bing improving the most of late, this percentage could drop even more. While Bing and Yahoo! are still in the midst of a merger that will combine the efforts of both brands to overtake Google, Yahoo! brass still want their brand to be a powerful entity by itself as these improvements show.
For nearly 9 nears, Google has powered AOL’s search results. Now AOL is deciding whether to continue or not with this partnership. Company Chairman, Tim Armstrong, hasn’t given the official word yet, but most industry experts feel it’s only a matter of time before AOL re-signs with Google.
One interesting component of all this is Microsoft. There’s been some chatter of them bidding for the rights to provide AOL’s search results via their 10 month old “decision engine” Bing. This would be another step towards Microsoft’s attempt to compete with Google and claim more of the search market. However, their bid would likely be outbid significantly by Google.
One can only admire Bing’s effort to compete against Google’s powerhouse. You might recall last summer’s deal between Microsoft and Yahoo!. Once this deal is reviewed and finalized, it will be rather interesting to see how Bing progresses as they will be the clear cut number 2 in this market.
Political interest groups are using search engine advertising as a way to sway users’ views one way or another on a specific issue. Their ads often appear after a search of a topic associated with a political issue.
The recent healthcare debate has brought about an increase in the sales of such ads. A Google search for “euthanasia” yields an ad with a link to moveon.org, a liberal organization. The link leads to a page titled “Top Five Health Care Reform Lies-and How to Fight Back.” It is the only ad that appears on the side of the page.
The interest groups often change the titles of their ads to keep up with new developments appearing the news. The activity has grown significantly in past months, dating back to last year’s election. Peter Greenberger, Google’s Director of Political Advertising, said, “[In] the course of a year or the last 18 months, the way people are using the online medium has dramatically changed.” Last year, Google received over $15 million for advertising from the Obama and McCain campaigns.
The main reason that advocacy groups are campaigning via online advertising is its reasonable price, with some organizations spending only a few thousand dollars for certain entries. As Internet and search engines use continues to increase, online advertising will remain an effective option for businesses.
A U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit against Yahoo! by a woman who sued the search engine for search results associated with her name. Beverly Stayart claimed that Yahoo! purposely linked her name to pornographic websites and erectile dysfunction drugs. The court dismissed the case, ruling that Yahoo! was protected under the Communications Decency Act.
Stayart filed her case in February and accused Yahoo! of various trademark violations, claiming that she is the only Beverly Stayart on the Internet. Those allegations failed because if there has ever been a person with her same name, Stayart would have a major problem proving the links were associated with her. Judge Rudolf Randa addressed this by saying: “No one who accessed these links could reasonably conclude that Bev Stayart endorsed the products at issue.”
Vanity search or egosurfing is a popular process referring to web users exploring the results of their own name on a search engine. This case shows that while a user may be unhappy with websites that result from a search of their name, little can be done due to the likelihood of someone sharing a same name. In sum, this case sets a precedent that will likely prevent copycat lawsuits from springing up across the country, sapping search engine time and resources.
Antitrust authorities in Italy are examining Google (Italy) after publishers of news websites complained that the search titan was not giving them a fair share of revenue from online advertising.
The accusers claim that Google does not disclose criteria for ranking content on its news site. Consequently, agencies such as newspapers are unable to maximize the amount of money gained from advertising. Search engines such as Google and Bing actually do give some information regarding rankings, but do not give their entire method in order to avoid complications.
Carlo Malinconico, president of the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers, said “Publishers provide much of the content on the Internet, but they get nearly nothing for it….This is not fair, in our opinion. Our feeling is we lose more than we gain.” Newspapers also claim that Google Italy discriminates against sites that do not want to be associated with Google News by dropping them from the search engine completely.
According to comScore, Google controlled 68 percent of all search queries in July, a mere 76.7 billion entries. It still owns nearly 90 percent of searches in Italy. As long as Google continues to dominate the search world, similar antitrust claims will remain common. While the allegations are serious, experts don’t see the probe going far.