Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’
In an announcement making some waves in the SEO world last week, Yahoo announced that they would be ending their paid inclusion program. SearchEngineLand.com points out access to Yahoo’s paid inclusion sales page has been redirected to their advertising.yahoo.com.
“Both the “Search Submit Basic” program that charged an annual fee per URL and the “Search Submit Pro” cost-per-click program will end as of Dec. 31, 2009.”
Yahoo’s paid inclusion has faced some criticism from those who believe including paid ads in an organic search makes the results biased. At the press conference announcing the Yahoo/Microsoft deal in July the company said “we’ll decide on that later”. Well it looks like they decided.
This may turn out to be a good thing for PPC on Yahoo. With paid inclusion gone advertisers will be looking for that same traffic and those ad dollars could shift to PPC. Any kind of uptick in PPC would be a benefit to domain owners parking with Yahoo. We’ll see.
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) on Monday launched an enhancement to Bing that allows users of the search engine to find certain items by viewing images instead of sifting through pages of text-based Internet links.
For instance, a search on HDTVs yields rows of images of flat-panel televisions. The results can be grouped by manufacturer, display technology, screen size, and resolution. Similarly, a query on new cars renders pictures of various models that are sortable by automaker, mileage, price, and vehicle type.
At present, Bing’s visual search engine is in the beta stage and is limited to several search categories predetermined by Microsoft. But company officials believe the technology has big potential and could help Microsoft close the gap with market leader Google.
“It’s clear that images play a big part in helping consumers with a variety of search activities,” said Bing product manager Todd Schwartz, in a blog post Monday. A study by Microsoft found that consumers can process image results 20% faster than text-only search results, according to Schwartz.
“Visual search is a new way to formulate and refine your search queries through imagery, particularly for sets of results that tend to be more structured,” wrote Schwartz. “What you’ll see is an amazing new visual search experience,” said Schwartz.
Bing’s visual search capability, which is powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight Web display technology, is the latest sign that Redmond is pulling out all the stops in its effort to catch Google. The company in July announced a far-reaching deal with Yahoo under which Bing will become the primary search engine on Yahoo’s Web properties while Microsoft gains the right to add search technology previously developed by Yahoo to Bing.
Still, Microsoft has, to put it mildly, its work cut out. Google holds about 83% of the worldwide search market, according to the most recent numbers from market watcher Net Applications. Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) holds 7%, while Microsoft, mostly through Bing, owns a mere 3.5%.
Microsoft isn’t giving up. In his blog, Schwartz said the software maker will roll out more new Bing features—including additional visual search capabilities–in the coming months.
Microsoft uses Marksmen to acquire Office.com.
Microsoft has acquired the domain name Office.com, but the software company appears to have taken a slightly different tact in acquiring it than it has in the past.
As I wrote after Microsoft acquired CashPerks.com and CashBack.com, the company typically uses a broker to acquire domain names. This is smart; if the seller knows Microsoft wants the domain then the price goes up.
But in previous acquisitions the acquirer didn’t identify themselves as a professional broker, or at least used a non-commercial email address such as a Gmail to transfer the domain name. This time whois records show the firm used Marksmen, an intellectual property acquisition firm. (If it used them in the past, that wasn’t evident in whois.)
Marksmen’s web site states:
Intellectual Property Acquisitions
How does an 800-pound gorilla buy a domain name? Dials Marksmen, of course. With more than 7000 successful domain name buys and other intellectual property acquisitions, including some of the best known brands on the planet, we are the go-to firm for worldwide IP owners who want to keep their identity and costs on the down low.
It may have been obvious to the owner that Microsoft was trying to buy the domain name, so using a go-between may have been for purposes other than trying to keep the purchase anonymous.
I met a representative of Marksmen at a domain conference in Seattle several years ago, but they are generally quiet in the industry. The company has offices in Los Angeles and North Carolina.
LegitScript, an online pharmacy verification service, and KnujOn, an Internet compliance company, have released a report analyzing Microsoft’s sponsored search results for Internet pharmacies displayed on bing.com. The report indicates that 89.7% of the Microsoft Internet pharmacy advertisements reviewed by the authors were fake or illegal Internet pharmacies.
Most of the Internet pharmacy advertisements analyzed in the report did not require a valid prescription. The authors were able to order a prescription-only muscle relaxant from a Microsoft-sponsored Internet pharmacy advertisement without any prescription.
Also, the authors ordered another prescription drug from a Microsoft-sponsored advertisement that tested positive as counterfeit.
Search engine advertising programs allow website owners to purchase visibility on the first few pages of search results, where online ads are listed as “sponsored sites.” Because Microsoft receives revenue when an Internet user clicks on a bing.com advertisement, it is generally accepted that online ads should not facilitate unlawful activity.
LegitScript President John Horton said, “We were able to purchase potentially addictive drugs without a prescription or any age verification via bing.com ads. We also received counterfeit medication. Microsoft profits from these illegal ads, which put Internet users at risk.”
The study also found disclosure gaps in bing.com’s advertising program, showing how an advertisement that appears to have been placed by a legitimate pharmacy links instead to a “rogue” online pharmacy.
“We urge Microsoft to fix this problem,” Horton and Bruen stated. “By continuing to allow these advertisements, Microsoft is facilitating prescription drug abuse and the proliferation of counterfeit drugs, both of which put our most vulnerable citizens at risk.”
The full report is available here.
Yahoo! Inc., which is building a regional data center in Lockport, has formed an Internet search partnership with Microsoft Corp. that Yahoo says will lift its annual operating income by about $500 million.
In the long-awaited 10-year deal announced on Wednesday, Microsoft will power Yahoo’s search tool while Yahoo will become the exclusive sales force for both firms’ premium search advertisers.
Under the agreement, Microsoft will license Yahoo’s core search technologies and Microsoft’s Bing will become the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo sites.
In addition to increasing its annual operating income, Yahoo said the deal will provide it with $200 million in capital expenditure savings and an annual operating cash flow benefit of $275 million.
In June, Yahoo announced a decision to locate its Northeast data center on a 30-acre site in the Lockport Industrial Park near the Delphi Thermal Systems complex.
The new operation, which includes a 190,000-square-foot structure, could initially employ 125 people, the company said.
It’s unclear whether they brought the requested “boatloads of money,” but several top Microsoft executives are in Silicon Valley to try to finalize a search deal with Yahoo, according to an All Things Digital report late on Thursday.
According to the report, the two sides are “down to the short strokes” after years of excruciatingly well publicized on-again, off-again talks. A deal could come within a week, All Things Digital said.
Included in the Microsoft entourage, according to the report, are three of its top online executives: Yusuf Mehdi, Satya Nadella, and Qi Lu.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said in May that she was open to a search deal if she believed in the partner’s technology and they provided said boatloads of money. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has indicated for more than a year now that he would like to strike some sort of search deal, although he no longer wants to acquire all of Yahoo as the company offered to do in February 2008.
With Microsoft’s Bing getting some good reviews and Microsoft having billions in cash on hand, the ingredients would seem to be in place, if both sides have the will to make it happen.
Microsoft’s new Bing search engine has eked out a slight gain in market share, according to statistics released Wednesday, but it has a long way to go before it catches up with industry leader Google.
Microsoft had 8.23 percent market share in June ” the first month its Bing online search engine was available, according to StatCounter Global Stats, a Web site traffic analysis firm. That put Bing not far behind Yahoo’s 11.04 percent market share but far behind Google’s 78.48 percent.
Microsoft, which is trying to grow its online services business against Google, had a 7.21 percent share of the search market in April with its MSN Search and Live Search properties, according to StatCounter. Google’s market share in April was 79.07 percent ” meaning its share dropped slightly between April and June.
“At first sight, a 1 percent increase in market share does not appear to be a huge return on the investment Microsoft has made in Bing, but the underlying trend appears positive,” said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s CEO, in a statement. “Steady if not spectacular might be the best way to describe performance to date.”
Microsoft, for example, has been running a series of television advertisements that show zombielike people spouting nonsensical facts and data as a result of search overload ” an effort to portray Bing as providing Web surfers with more of the information they are looking for.
Initially the market share of all Microsoft’s search properties (Bing, Live Search and MSN Search combined) increased to 9.21 percent right after Bing debuted June 1, dropped back the next two weeks, then grew to 8.45 percent during the period of June 22 to 28, leading to the overall 8.23 percent market share for the month, according to Dublin, Ireland-based StatCounter.
The market-share numbers are based on an analysis of 1.3 billion search engine referring clicks worldwide (336 million from the U.S.) collected from StatCounter’s network of 3 million Web sites.