Oh Yahoo, we had such big hopes for you.
You were the original web directory – if we wanted to find something on the web, we used Yahoo. We watched you grow from a small listing of sites to a virtual library of organized information.
We paid GoTo for clicks in the ethical grey zone that wasn't quite paid search inclusion. When GoTo became Overture we shrugged. When Overture became Yahoo we were maybe a little bit excited again.
You tried, but you never really seemed to understand what it is that we wanted. You splattered advertising and distractions across our pages. You created a PPC platform that made us dread logging in to use it.
We didn't want to sit waiting for flashy interfaces to load just to change a couple of bids. We were on the clients clock and needed to get things done quickly. So if we didn't make extra effort to sell Yahoo paid search to our clients, it was only because it wasn't worth the trouble. You forgot to cater to your unpaid sales force.
As it is, I'm considering giving up my last Yahoo email address because the flash advertising keeps interfering with my ability to click on messages. Gmail however, keeps innovating in ways that make me more productive.
You could have been great. Well, you were, but I mean still.
Well enough of that.
This New Deal with Microsoft however is exciting. Really exciting. If the combined weight of Yahoo and Microsoft does end up in an engine with a 20-30% search share, we will finally have a reason to optimize for 2 engines again.
We'll have the ability to use the nice AdCenter interface to buy Yahoo traffic. Let that give you warm fuzzy thoughts.
With an engine with over 20% search share, we'll be able to look a client in the eye again and say, "yes, it's worth the effort".
The big unknown, of course, is that Microsoft will have exclusive access to Yahoo's search technology. This means that Microsoft will be able to integrate Yahoo's learnings into Bing. And Yahoo may have a few tricks up their sleeve that Microsoft doesn't yet know.
That means we also get the added excitement of taking Bing apart from an SEO point of view and then potentially watching it change and evolve over time. Maybe we've become a little too complacent about our understanding of search engines lately.
Ultimately I hope we're watching the rebuilding of competition in the search space. It should drive innovation and make our
jobs lives more interesting.
Vice President at Search Engine People, helping clients with Conversion Optimization, Analytics, and On-Page SEO.
Online Marketer since June 2000, Internet geek since 1994. Follow me on twitter at @semlady to see what I'm reading now.