RIP Yahoo Search, Hello Bing!

by Helen M. Overland July 30th, 2009 


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 dutifully had our sites reviewed and listed while hopeful start-ups paid mind-boggling amounts of money to have their banner shown to the impressionable Yahoo masses.


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.


Helen Overland

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.

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7 Responses to “RIP Yahoo Search, Hello Bing!”

  1. CarolAnnB says:

    RIP…indeed. Hoping that Yahoo! won't forget its humble beginnings b/c that's what made it great to start with. 😉 Gr8 post, btw!

  2. Ver well put. I am also mourning the death of Yahoo. I stuck with them as long as I could but like you said it is way more convenient to use Google. Bing seems to "get it" so it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.

  3. Like any business they evolve and grow into something much different from their initial purpose.

  4. I said goodbye to Yahoo when Google came around… didn't even notice Bing really.

  5. bruce says:

    I hope they combination actually gives some competition to Google. I have my reservations that this will only further create a monopolistic atmosphere in the search engine universe. The ppc prices are already high. But I do hope something good comes out of this.

  6. I too hope Bing turns out to give Google some competition in terms of share. Good post now its time to test how all of this pans out and see what happens

  7. Yahoo has died a long time ago. Google is still the king and I dont belive that Bing will cause any problem.