Yahoo! and Bing take on Goliath

In July of 2009 Yahoo! and Microsoft announced a search partnership that would attempt to chip away at the massive market share that Google currently controls of the search market. This is a Battle Royale for a larger slice of the multi-billion-searches-per-month pie, hitting a record the same month of 10.5 billion. Coincidence? Perhaps. Various sources including HitWise, Nielsen and ComScore place Google with anywhere from 63% to 72% of the total global search market share within the past year, leaving Y! and Bing with a combined 25% to 29%.

Details on the Search Alliance

This partnership between the two "Davids" is a 10 year agreement in which Microsoft will license parts of the Y! search technologies. The deal received all regulatory clearance by the US and European Commission in February 2010 and plans to have everything rolled out by Q1 of 2011. In fact, they have lofty goals of launching the combined ad platform prior to the 2010 holiday season. To squelch advertisers' worries they were even bold enough to say that if they don't feel like the transition is ready, they will put it on hold until after the holidays. I don't know about you, but I would hate to be the one responsible for pulling the trigger on that decision.

Search Engine Watch has a great graphic on the Search Alliance transition timeline and other transition do’s and dont's.

So what exactly are they rolling out? It gets confusing because the two companies will still be sharing technologies but still competing against Google and each other as two separate properties. Below is top line breakdown of where they will combine forces and where they will remain independent competitors. Read more in depth on the Search Alliance.

Yahoo! + Microsoft

  • Search ads will be combined into one platform, served and managed through Microsoft’s adCenter.
  • Sales and support of high volume search advertisers such as SEM agencies will be supported by Y!, while self-service, smaller advertisers will be supported by Microsoft.
  • Algorithmic/organic search results on both Y! and Microsoft will be powered by Bing.


Yahoo! vs. Microsoft

  • All non-search properties such web content, email, instant messaging, etc. will all be totally independent.
  • Display advertising will not be merged and each will maintain their own inventories and sales forces.
  • Each will maintain and service their existing publishers, AKA affiliate search partners.
  • Y! will continue to syndicate existing search affiliate partnerships.
  • Each company will innovate their own consumer search experiences to compete for search users and queries.

Notice anything about this list? The emphasis is on the advertising and not the organic search, even though more people will be affected by the latter. Stay tuned for my next posts on how the Yahoo!/Microsoft merger will affect your paid search strategies as well as your SEO efforts. For more information on online search engines, contact us.