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Jan 24 2006
Yahoo! Content to Be No. 2 in Search?
This is a very interesting piece from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer quoting Yahoo!�s CFO Susan Decker on the implied unliklihood that Yahoo! will gain any significant search share from Google in the immediate future.

Recall, however, that overall Yahoo! is number 1 in terms of uniques (a position it has traded with AOL back and forth).

What is amazing is that Google grew search market share (by all accounts) in 2005, a year of incredible competition. This year promises to be at least as competitive and Yahoo! may turn some attention from search per se to other assets (e.g., video, mobile, content creation, podcasting and so on).

The Yahoo! Go strategy playing out will also be an important one to watch. (There have also been rumors that Yahoo! will seek to buy TiVO.)

I would also make the unsolicited recommendation that Yahoo! devote more time and attention to MyYahoo (though the company recently �AJAX-ified� the content modules). This is an application that is very strong (for the mainstream user) and should be leveraged sooner rather than later.

On the advertising side, Yahoo! will likely try to continue to leverage its relationships with national advertisers�display ads were an area of growth for the company�and the success it has had in its initial trials with behavoral targeting. Yahoo! is also slowly developing its contextual product.

Local is also an area of great strength and innovation for Yahoo! And, as mentioned, social media and community will continue to develop at Yahoo!

We sometimes forget that there�s a great deal more going on on the Internet than search, even though search has become the driver or starting point for so much commercial and non-commercial activity.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  06:36 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 24 2006
Social Search Review
BusinessWeek Reporter Ben Elgin provides a nice overview of Yahoo!�s �differentiation strategy� (vs. Google) using community and �social search.� (I believe JudysBook has tried to TM the term �social search.")

We wrote about Yahoo!�s broader social strategy and how it related to local back in August last year and blogged a bit more about it in November.

I also wrote previously here about how Yahoo! is integrating community across its site in Answers, Shopping, Trip Planner, etc.

We�ll also be doing an update of our 2004 White Paper �Social Networking: Building a Better Local Online Marketplace� this year.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:39 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 24 2006
Jeeves' New Image Search
This doesn�t have anything to do with local per se, but is supposed to being helping make IAC a local powerhouse (together with Citysearch). I�m reminded by this that I need to catch up with them on a range of fronts. But the new image search is a nice presentation.

According to the recent Keynote Systems research on search user satisfaction, image search is playing a more significant role in the overall search picture (so to speak):

Image search appears to have caught on quite quickly with consumers, with 63% of Yahoo! users and 56% of Google users turning to the image search areas of those sites when searching for an image. There is less awareness and usage of the local search tabs, with just 28% of Google users and 39% of Yahoo! users in the study turning to the local search function when conducting a local search although there is great appreciation for Google�s integrated local search results. There is significantly less consumer demand for the special product search functionality on all leading sites.

As competitive as Ask�s functionality and search results are, the engine has struggled to differentiate itself and gain share. However, according to comScore, between November 2004 and 2005, Ask gained 1% market share:

November �04:

  • Google: 34.6%

  • Yahoo!: 32%

  • MSN: 16%

  • AOL: 9.1%

  • Ask: 5.5%

November �05:

  • Google: 39.8%

  • Yahoo!: 29.5%

  • MSN: 14.2%

  • AOL: 8.7%

  • Ask: 6.5% (+1%)

At 5+ billion monthly searches that�s not insignificant. Still, if Ask is going to further break out it will have to do some fairly radical things to draw users away from the top three.


Here�s more from Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:11 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [2]

Jan 23 2006
The Earnings Guessing Game
SiliconBeat and John Battelle raise the question (citing Yahoo! employee Amr Awadallah�s reasoned speculation) of whether Google will hit or fall short of estimates. I think the company will hit its targets (but it still may loose if it doesn�t exceed them).

Eight days to go; we�ll see.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  13:33 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
ReachLocal Deal with FTD
Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal reports on a large-scale deal between ReachLocal and FTD local florists:

ReachLocal and FTD Florists are working together on a customized local search campaign in which 20,000 FTD merchants will be advertising on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, IYP�s like SuperPages, and According to the agreement, FTD will implement all of its local search advertising through ReachLocal.

Efficient Frontier manages these sorts of large campaigns for Reach. Last week I had a very interesting conversation with EF regarding paid search generally and local in particular, and related trends in automated management of search campaigns for local businesses.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  12:51 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Real Estate Roundup
Gary Price has a link-intensive piece today at Search Engine Watch discussing the proliferating tools in real estate search. It�s quite thorough and worth a read definitely. Real estate is one of the most interesting verticals since it�s map-intensive, involves offline transactions and local businesses and is being driven by accelerated consumer adoption of online applications.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:50 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Elusive Millenials
Here�s a very very long article in the NY Times (reg. req�d) from Sunday about the elusive �millenials� (people born between 1980 and 2000). If anyone believes that the consumer behavior model and the media landscape isn�t fragmenting and radically changing should read this article.

This emerging consumer behavior model is the inspiration for the upcoming Drilling Down event.

Here�s another NY Times piece on online �recommendations� (a cousin of what used to be called �social networking� and now is more appropriately and inclusively called �community"):

This is the now well-documented �long tail� (I�m sorry for saying it again), in action:

At NetFlix, the online DVD rental company, for example, roughly two-thirds of the films rented were recommended to subscribers by the site - movies the customers might never have thought to consider otherwise, the company says. As a result, between 70 and 80 percent of NetFlix rentals come from the company�s back catalog of 38,000 films rather than recent releases.

A collaborative filtering mechanism (pioneered on a large scale by Amazon) is one solution to the emerging problem of media fragmentation�what�s interesting to me is what�s interesting to my friends/community/people like me.

The so-called millenials are notoriously oriented toward community and use technology as a way to reach out to and manage their relationships with their friends. And to the extent that marketers can get into the fiber of those communities (which is Yahoo!�s meta strategy) it could pay off well. But whatever the �it� that is being marketed or sold is must be relevant and very highly targeted.

For this audience, irrelevant marketing is ignored or, worse, destroys credibility.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  10:13 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Search Marketers Paying Too Much?
This article made the rounds on Friday (ClickZ). The thrust of this Kevin Newcomb piece is that the paid search auction model is flawed and inefficient for less sophisticated marketers:

�We want to educate advertisers about the fact that in some sense they are being taken advantage of,� Ostrovsky said in a statement. �Under the current mechanism, if they don�t think carefully about their bidding strategies, they can end up paying a lot more to the search engines than they need to."

This critique of general paid search may be especially true for local. Here�s what an A-list search marketing firm said about local keyword prices/buying:

Geographic-qualified keywords have less inventory than generic words and phrases, which drives the bid landscape higher and forces all advertisers to bid more aggressively. This happens a lot with major metropolitan areas like NYC & San Francsico.

There�s less competition on a national level. There are a lot of regional advertisers that bid aggressively using geo-qualified keywords only without any nationwide initiatives. In addition, a lot of these advertisers are not as educated on the space and many times end up creating extremely artificially-inflated markets for these keywords.

So this is pretty consistent with what we�ve been hearing directly from the people on the front lines: people are bidding more for local because it converts better and for some of these �irrational� reasons also.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  09:58 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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