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July 2008 Search Engine Market Share

August 21, 2008 1 comment

comScore released its July 2008 search engine market share numbers and once again Google has gained ground – up 0.4% from June to 61.9%.  This share increase was taken directly from Yahoo, likely due to the Microsoft fiasco, who lost 0.4% to 20.5%.

MSN Live search is still in a distant third place with 8.9% market share – my guess most of that traffic comes from those people who still have a Hotmail account.  I can’t for the life of me figure out how Microsoft indexes one page over another but there appears to be less competition for the top spots.  For example, my infoMedMD site is ranked #3 on MSN for medical symptoms but on page 3 for Google.  Even though Microsoft barely makes a blip on the search barometer I still receive the vast majority of my traffic from them.  So in this particular case it’s better for me to be #3 on MSN than page 3 for Google.  However, I would of course prefer to be #3 on Google where I would receive 50 times more traffic for the keyword medical symptoms!  

 

July 2008 Search Engine Market Share

Yahoo

With all the negative press about Yahoo recently, including the exodus of 115 executives since January 2007, it’s easy to forget about the incredible history of one of the first internet companies.

Founded in 1994, Yahoo began as a basic web directory and eventually evolved into an internet giant.  On April 12, 1996 Yahoo went public with a intra day market cap high of $1 billion.  (See Internet IPOs for more).

With the capital from their IPO Yahoo was now able to expend via both in house development and outside acquisitions.  During the internet boom Yahoo made one of the biggest dot.com purchases ever with the $5.7 billion acquisition of Broadcast.com in July 1999. Broadcast.com was an online audio service created by Mark Cuban to stream live audio coverage of his favorite sporting events. Yahoo’s purchase of Broadcast.com made Cuban an internet legend, a billionaire and a future owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. At the time of the purchase Broadcast.com was a publicly traded company (BCST) who saw its stock rise over $7 to $125 after the announcement.

Yahoo’s first acquisition was for Net Controls in September 1997 for $1.4 million. Yahoo acquired ViaWeb, a developer of web commerce tools, for $49 million in stock in June 1998. In October 1998 Yahoo began its quest for free email service with the purchase of Four11 (Four11 offered a free email service via a product called RocketMail) for $92 million in stock. Today Yahoo Mail is one of the largest drivers of traffic to the Yahoo network. Yahoo announced its acquisition of Geocities in January 1999 for $3.6 billion.

Yahoo jumped into the marketing world with the purchase of Yoyodyne in October 1998 for $29.6 million in stock. Yoyodyne allowed Yahoo to collect user data and act as an intermediary between its users and commerce clients. Yahoo purchased its popular Launch music site with its acquisition of Launch Media in June 2001 for $12 million. In December 2001 Yahoo purchased the online job search company HotJobs for approximately $436 million. Inktomi was purchased in December 2002 for $235 million followed by Overture in July 2003 for $1.63 billion. In April 2004 Yahoo purchased Kelkoo, a European comparison shopping site, for $579 million.

Below is a partial list of Yahoo’s acquisitions which have helped shape this diverse portal.

Yahoo! Acquisitions History:

  • September 1997 – Yahoo acquires Net Controls for $1.4 Million
  • October 1997 – Yahoo purchases Four11 for $92 Million
  • March 1998 – Yahoo purchases Classic Games
  • June 1998 – Yahoo picks up ViaWeb for $49 Million
  • July 1998 – Yahoo acquires WebCal
  • December 1998 – Yahoo acquires Yoyodyne for $29.6 Million
  • December 1998 – Yahoo acquires Sportacy
  • January 1999 – Yahoo acquires Hyperparellel for $8 Million
  • February 1999 – Yahoo acquires Log-Me-On for $10 Million
  • May 1999 – Yahoo purchases GeoCities for $3.6 Billion
  • May 1999 – Yahoo purchases Encompass for $130 Million
  • June 1999 – Yahoo acquires Online Anywhere for $80 Million
  • July 1999 – Yahoo purchases Broadcast.com for $5.7 Billion
  • November 1999 – Yahoo acquires MyQuest
  • March 2000 – Yahoo acquires Arthas.com
  • August 2000 – Yahoo acquires eGroups for $432 Million
  • November 2000 – Yahoo purchases Kimo for $145 Million
  • April 2001 – Yahoo acquires Sold.com for $30 Million
  • June 2001 – Yahoo acquires Launch Media for $12 Media
  • January 2002 – Yahoo acquires Hotjobs for $436 Million
  • December 2002 – Yahoo acquires Inktomi for $235 Million
  • February 2003 – Yahoo acquires Alltheweb for $100 Million
  • October 2003 – Yahoo acquires Overture for $1.63 Billion
  • January 2004 – Yahoo acquires 3721
  • April 2004 – Yahoo acquires Kelkoo for $579 Million
  • July 2004 – Yahoo buys Oddpost
  • September 2004 – Yahoo picks up MusicMatch for $160 Million
  • October 2004 – Yahoo buys Stata Labs (email search software)
  • August 2004 – Yahoo picks up Farechase (online travel)
  • March 2005 – Yahoo acquires Ludicorp Research (Flickr) for $40 Million
  • March 2005 – Yahoo buys Stadeon (multiplayer video games)
  • June 2005 – Yahoo acquires Dialpad
  • June 2005 – Yahoo buys Blo.gs
  • July 2005 – Yahoo acquires Konfabulator (Pixoria)
  • August 2005 – Yahoo buys a 40% stake in Alibaba (Chinese eCommerce) for $1 Billion
  • October 2005 – Yahoo picks up Upcoming.org
  • October 2005 – Yahoo acquires WhereOnEarth
  • December 2005 – Yahoo buys del.icio.us
  • October 2006 – Yahoo acquires AdInterax (rich media advertising)
  • November 2006 – Yahoo acquires Bix
  • April 2007 – Yahoo buys Right Media (online advertising) for $680 million
  • June 2007 – Yahoo purchases Rivals.com (college sports)
  • September 2007 – Yahoo buys Zimbra (next generation messaging) for $350 million
  • September 2007 – Yahoo acquires BlueLithium (global ad network) for $300 million
  • February 2008 – Yahoo purchases Maven Networks (online video) for $160 million
  • April 2008 – Yahoo acquires IndexTools (web analytics software for marketing)

For additional internet M&As visit Internet Acquisitions and Biggest Internet Mergers & Acquisitions

The Political Web: Barack Obama vs. John McCain

June 24, 2008 9 comments

To date Barack Obama has raised a whopping $296 million for his presidential campaign. Much of Obama’s fundraising success is due in large part to a fantastic website, a dominate internet presence and the viral marketing efforts of his supporters via blogs, links, content and of course YouTube.

For John McCain his fundraising efforts are 143% lower than Obama’s at $122 million. McCain’s web presence comes in a distant second (comared to Obama) in every category.

Below are a number of web analytics which compare the candidates’ online saturation. When it comes to web analytics Barack Obama crushes John McCain in every category.

Google Results (Winner: Barack Obama)

When performing a search for Barack Obama on Google you’ll find 54,900,000 pages that at least mention the presidential candidate. The same search for John McCain brings up 37,600,000 pages. Impressive for Barack since he was relatively unknown before 2004 whereas John McCain has been a senator since 1987 and ran for president in 2000

Google Results for Barack Obama & John McCain

YouTube Videos (Winner: Barack Obama)

This election is the first presidential election of the YouTube generation and to date there are 130,000 videos about (or talk about/mention) Barack Obama whereas just 39,400 YouTube videos focus on John McCain. Of course there is no way to tell if these videos are for or against a particular candidate but one thing is certain and that is more people are talking, writing, blogging, and recording Barack Obama.

Barack Obama & John McCain YouTube Videos

Site Lookup – Google (Winner: Barack Obama)

A site lookup determines the number of pages indexed for a particular website on a search engine such as Google. Doing a site lookup (on Google) for BarackObama.com we see that Barack has 889,000 pages indexed. Compare that to JohnMcCain.com and we see that Obama has far more online content – McCain has 30,400 pages. Generally speaking the more pages a website has the more search traffic that website will receive. If optimized (called SEO) then more pages means more opportunities to be found online. If internet visitors are going to your site then you can craft your message exactly the way you want – not the way your competitor wants it.

BarackObama.com is a terrific website built in Web 2.0 fashion with social networking tools embedded into it. As we know BarackObama.com has raised a significant amount of money from small donations via the website. My guess is that the 889,000 pages indexed and the Web 2.0 features of BarackObama.com have a lot to do with Barack’s financial success.

Number of Pages Indexed for Barack Obama & John McCain

InLinks – Yahoo (Winner: Barack Obama)

Inlinks (or inbound links) are the number of outside links pointing to your website. Inlinks are very important in determining a website’s search engine placement and therefore search traffic. Google’s original algorithium relied heavily on the quality of inbound links and based on this created the PageRank. PageRank (which had more pull a few years ago) measures the quality of a website in the range of 0 to 10. Both BarackObama.com and JohnMcCain.com have a PageRank of 7.

In the case of Barack Obama and John McCain you can infer the popularity of a particular candidate by the number of websites linking to it – in essence it can be seen as a recommendation. With that BarackObama.com has 60,801 links pointing to it and JohnMcCain.com has 21,905.

Both stats are from Yahoo which is more reliable than Google in determining inlinks.

Inbound links to BarackObama.com and JohnMcCain.com

Google Blog Search (Winner: Barack Obama)

Blogs have become a tremendous political force. Both candidates maintain a blog (Obama, McCain) but more importantly millions of Americans have a blog and now a voice. Bloggers have more influence than ever and some are arguable as influential as The Washington Post and The New York Times. With every election a new form of media has emerged forcing a candidate to adapt. In 2004 blogs showed their influence for the first time and this year video is a the new major player – now we have video and blogs!

So, one more way to measure the online success of a potential candidate is the number of blog posts about a particular candidate. In essence it measures what people are talking about, what people are thinking about and who they’re voting for. Once again Barack Obama has a commanding online presence over John McCain with 7,367,910 posts about him and only 4,242,637 blog posts about John McCain.

Blog Search - Barack Obama & John McCain

Keyword Searches (Winner: Barack Obama)

According to Wordtracker, the keyword “Barack Obama” is searched for 7,682 times per day. “John McCain” sees 4,392 daily searches. This means when people go to Google (and search for a candidate) they are searching for Barack Obama 75% more than John McCain. These numbers only include both candidates’ full name – there are hundreds of variations that people are also searching for. For instance, if you do a search for just the candidates last name then Obama is searched for 9,643 times/day and McCain 1,122 times per day.

Daily Keyword Searches for Barack Obama & John McCain

People Count (Winner: Barack Obama)

According to Compete.com, BarackObama.com received 1,568,981 visitors in May 2008 compared to JohnMcCain.com which received 424,214 visitors. Both candidates (Barack 3 million and McCain 1 million) saw a huge spike in traffic in February 2008 thanks to Super Tuesday.

Barack Obama vs. John McCain Internet Traffic, Visitors, People Count

BarackObama.com

This data goes back to January, but I couldn’t write a piece about website earnings without computing the business valuation of a website’s earnings. In January Barack Obama raised $32 million, of which $28 million came from online donations. According to Techcrunch, over 250,000 individuals made donations of which 90% of those were under $100.

Barack Obama\'s Website Earnings & ValuationAccording to the Compete.com graph (above) BarackObama.com received around 3 million visitors in January 2008. Like I value a websites’ worth on this blog and on Bizak.com, I will attempt to do the same with BarackObama.com. Entering these numbers into the Bizak Business Valuation Calculator (and assuming no costs) you get a whopping $9.33 earnings per visitor (EPV). This means on average Barack Obama earns $9.33 for every person who visits his website. Internet powerhouses like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, & Myspace wish they had a $9.33 EPV. If BarackObama.com was an internet site making $30 million/month then they would have a valuation of $1.344 Billion!!

Summary

When it comes to internet marketing Barack Obama is far ahead of John McCain. Unfortunately, I can’t compare The Political Web for Bush vs. Kerry in 2004 so it remains to be seen if a dominate web presence converts into the presidency. What we do know is George Bush had only 35 electoral votes and 3,012,166 popular votes more than John Kerry in 2004. Both candidates had roughly the same amount of funds – at this time in 2004 John Kerry had accumulated $186.2 million. At the time this was 5x more than any previous democrat had raised. That was of course before Barack Obama who so far (with 4 full months remaining) has raised $296 million compared to John McCain’s $122 million. This equates to a 143% difference in funds. In 2004 George Bush had only 13% ($41 million) more dollars than Kerry, but only captured 2% more of the popular vote.

Web Comparison of Barack Obama vs. John McCain

Advertising Preferred Business Model for 58% of Startups

June 16, 2008 2 comments

Revenue Models of Web Internet StartupsAccording to the latest numbers from Bizak (and to no surprise),  58% of startups rely on advertising as their primary revenue model.

Of this 58%, 25% use in house advertising, 22% implement Google Adsense and 11% use affiliate marketing services like Commission Junction.

Less than 1% of startups use Yahoo Search Marketing or Microsoft Search Advertising

Source: Bizak.com

SEO Will Eventually Become Ineffective

March 31, 2008 7 comments

I just came across an article entitled, “Bright SEO Career Prospects Could Dim,” which once again has resurfaced my belief that SEO will eventually become ineffective. The decline in SEO utility will ultimately force the majority of website owners to abandon their reliance on Google (for traffic) and look somewhere else. According to the article SEO consultants will see a surge in business over the next 5 years but after that business will plateau and ultimately decline. According to the author the decline will be the result of more educated users and website owners who will just optimize their websites on their own.

I agree that SEO will likely see a surge in business over the next 5 years and a decline after that. However, I disagree as to the reason for the decline. I don’t think the decline will be due to skilled web designers but rather due to the ineffectiveness of SEO. I agree that SEO is not rocket science and anyone can pick up the basics in just a few hours however I think the decline will be indicative of a bigger change in behavior.

Given that search is a very competitive (and crowded) place it will only get worse when the number of optimized websites increases over time. This will lead to an increase in competition that will mean fewer and fewer visitors for optimized sites, in return decreasing the value of SEO. If in 5 years an optimized site can’t guarantee a surge in traffic then SEO consultants can no longer demand their exorbitant fees. Websites obviously still need the traffic but since Google can no longer provide it to them then they are going to seek alternative ways to get that traffic. It remains to be seen whether that means niche search engines, advertising on focused social networks or an entirely new platform??!

I think the disparity between those that are satisfied with Google and those who aren’t will increase over time. Those who remain satisfied with search will be the end user looking for information. He/she doesn’t own a website and isn’t concerned about receiving traffic from Google – he is only interested in finding information when he needs it. Google and the search engines will always satisfy this user with the most relevant source.

The frustration sets in with the website owner who relies of Google for traffic. Over time his website will see a decline in traffic from Google (due to excessive competition) that eventually leaves him frustrated and unsatisfied with Google’s results. This dissatisfaction will ultimately force website owners to be the first group to migrate away from Google. Whether the average user follows remains to be seen but they have in the past. This scenario is not unlike the early days of Google when the more advanced web users fled Yahoo’s directory for Google. As we know everyone else eventually followed.

Not if, but rather when the next migration occurs is just a matter of time.

Search Engine Market Share

February 11, 2008 2 comments

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According to Compete.com, Googled ushered in the new year with its largest search market share to date – 68.6%. Up almost 7 percentage points in comparison to January 2007 – Yahoo declined 6% during that time and MSN remained relatively stable.

The interesting analysis to these numbers is that the top five search engines (Yahoo, MSN Live, ASK & AOL) combined don’t equal half of Google’s market share. Actually the combination of all the other search engines only equals 30.8%. Yahoo + MSN Live = 25.4%. This obviously gives Google a lot of capital to work with. Capital that is enforced on websites who must abide by Google’s rules of search engine optimization or else pay the consequences. This gives Google monopolistic control over websites whose sole existence relies on Google. If the website violates one of Google’s rules (many times unwittingly) they then could be banned from the directory thus ceasing the vast majority of their traffic. It’s to bad that in cases like these websites can’t have peace of mind knowing that MSN and Yahoo would be able to pick up the slack. There will come a time in the near future when websites give up on the one search engine internet that we see today. PPC has already priced out the small players and SEO can cost $100,000/year thus making organic rankings out of their reach too.

As I mentioned in Future Search Engines there must be more to the combined (if it happens) Yahoo and MSN merger then just grabbing 25% of the search market. First of Microsoft is sacrificing the present (most noticeably in stock price) to become the reigning online king in the next 5 years. Search will most likely take a new approach in the next five years and Microsoft (and I’m assuming Google too) knows this. Knowing that the internet is becoming a crowded place that will soon reach a saturation point (which means decline PPC income) search must create a new radical platform to placate the small to mid level internet companies & websites.

Future Search Engines

February 9, 2008 2 comments

Microsoft’s recent desire to purchase Yahoo (which was just “spurned” by Yahoo) has brought up a lot of interesting questions about the future of search engines.  Given the size of the two companies a successful merger of the two could be very unlikely – AOL Time Warner always comes to mind.  However, one thing interesting about the merger is all the talk and brainstorming about where search is heading.  For users Google is still by far and away the best (and most widely used) search engine when looking for information.  However, for internet startups like myself Google has become very ineffective in sending us traffic.  When using Google I can find the information I want however a lot of that information comes from major corporations who have the clout to be #1 organically and the money to be the #1 pay per click (PPC) ad.  As small entrepreneur I have ventured away from using Google for traffic and have instead focused more on niche players/blogs/directories which send me a very focused target audience.  For example I advertise Bizak on Go2Web20.net which sends me a lot more traffic then Google.  

Google search results have become overcrowded for websites looking for traffic and we’re looking for something else.  The estimate is that somewhere between 15-20% of websites are optimized for Google.  What happens when half of all websites are optimized for Google?  At that point it’s going to be virtually impossible to receive any sort of traffic from Google.  Users won’t notice the difference but websites will and they’ll want an alternative.  If you’ve noticed it seems like almost every company on the internet does search engine optimization.  This could be a tell tale sign that a change is coming.  When everyone starts talking about a particular stock it’s usually time to sell. This could be the same theory for search with many losing a lot of money for a process that no longer generates results.

TechCrunch wrote an interesting article on how Yahoo needs to take a radical approach to beat Google – and I agree.  Yahoo (and even a combined Yahoo/MSN) cannot beat Google at its own game.  Yahoo needs to take an entirely new radical approach to search.  As I mentioned previously Yahoo needs to create a new search brand but also consider the “radical approach.”  As TechCrunch mentioned Yahoo needs to consider search engines geared towards a particular niche (similar to my movement away from Google to niche websites) and giving away search KPIs to developers who can build whatever type of search engine they can conjure up.  This would indeed be a radical approach to search and an impressive gamble for Yahoo.  It’s not that far from Facebook allowing developers to create their own applications – the trick for both is figuring out how to monetize this development.