Yahoo Buys Overture
The big buzz over the past few weeks has been Yahoo’s purchase of Overture. What this means and its implications may vary, but one common belief is that this will make Yahoo a major player and competitor against Google.
Since its inception, Yahoo has been one of the most visited search portals on the web. Yahoo, in the past, was the place to be, which allowed them to demand $299 for a directory listing. More recently Yahoo began making their directory secondary and pulling search results from Google as their primary results. Yahoo has been utilizing Google results for some time but those results were secondary to the Yahoo directory. Not any more.
Several months back Yahoo purchased Inktomi which has been known for strong relevancy results. Inktomi results have yet to be incorporated into Yahoo’s search results, but many believe it is just a matter of time before Yahoo replaces Google with Inktomi in their search results.
With Yahoo’s purchase of Overture Yahoo now owns a major web directory (their own), a crawler based search (Inktomi) and pay-per-click advertising (Overture). These elements have all been part of Yahoo for some time but the the crawler search was “rented” from Google and PPC “rented” from Overture. Yahoo will no longer need to rent as it now owns.
The Search Effect
Will Yahoo be able to command the search audience now commanded by Google, or at least eat away at Google’s share? This remains an unknown. Currently Google seems to be synonymous with search. If you want to do a search for something you “Google it”.
As things stand, Google has a very loyal audience and the average surfer would have to believe that they are going to get just as relevant, if not more relevant, results when searching at Yahoo. That could take some time for Yahoo to achieve. In actuality there are several search engines that produce an excellent quality results, depending on the search. Teoma and AllTheWeb comes to mind, but neither of these come close to Google’s audience share.
Yahoo still has to implement its Inktomi technology and from there work on relevancy. Once relevancy is achieved they need to get the word out and try to bring some Google searches over to their side of the fence. Of course both Yahoo and Google also need to keep an eye on MSN search, while already one of the four top search portals, is working on their own in-house search technology to compete with Google and now Yahoo.
What does this mean overall? Well, in the search marketplace, competition is a good thing. If Yahoo and (hopefully) MSN are successful in achieving Google quality relevancy and are also successful at getting the word out, in that Google will no longer hold a monopoly on search (it doesn’t in reality but does in perception!). Losing a top ranking on Google will no longer mean a potentially devastating drop in hits and sales to your site. It also means an opportunity for more high-quality exposure for your web site.