Archives for posts with tag: Microsoft
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Microsoft has decided to join us all in the year 2005 and acknowledge that not everyone in the universe is still using Internet Explorer by opening up their adCenter user interface to Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the rest of us have moved on to 2012 since then, and 2012 is a very different world than 2005. Internet Explorer usage has been plummeting over those years and it has become pure folly to ignore browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari. One might think that Microsoft would want to make it easy for advertisers to give them money, regardless of browser, but this notion has eluded Microsoft since the inception of adCenter. While every other website on the planet, including Microsoft properties like Bing.com, took pains to become compatible with every browser, adCenter remained off limits to those without Internet Explorer for years. That includes the entire population of Mac users! 

I'm glad to see Microsoft making these strides but it really does seem like very little very late. I wonder what woke them up to the fact that they couldn't bully Chrome/Firefox/Safari users? Maybe it was when they noticed that Apple does more business with just the iPhone than Microsoft does with everything! Whatever it was, I hope that this is only the first in a series of improvements to adCenter, a platform that is still playing catchup to Yahoo's Panama, which was playing catchup to AdWords when Microsoft decided to sunset it in 2010.
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It wasn't all her fault, but Carol Bartz's resignation as CEO of Yahoo likely will be remembered as the final straw that broke the back of the once-great Internet company. Bartz oversaw the deal that essentially gifted Yahoo's search revenue stream to Microsoft and abandoned future search ambitions by allowing its engine to be powered by Bing. Bartz was dealt a really difficult hand by the former custodians of Yahoo but her direction for the company seemed flawed from the start. From all of her rhetoric, it was clear from the outset that she did not hold search as a particularly important aspect of Yahoo's holdings and she doubled down on display advertising efforts. In my opinion, this was a big mistake.

When Bartz took over, people in my business talked about Google, Yahoo and Microsoft–in that order–when discussing the search landscape. Google was the juggernaut but Yahoo was the company that first began to invest in building out a revenue model to accompany their popular search engine. Yahoo purchased Overture, they rebranded it, they relaunched it, they tailored it, they supported it and, ultimately, under Bartz's stewardship, they discarded it. Now, when people talk about search, they mention Google and Bing; Yahoo very justly doesn't enter the conversation. It's a shame that Yahoo has suffered this fate when they were once so innovative or, at least, so good at recognizing innovative companies to acquire and paths to pursue. 

There is clearly room for two or more players in the field of search; it's sad that Yahoo lost its footing in that field without even putting up a fight. I wish the best of luck to Bart, to the company that she's leaving and to the company that lands with. She's an extremely capable person by all accounts that just didn't have the right tools or ideas to save Yahoo. I hope that this isn't the last we'll hear from Yahoo but it's going to be even tougher for Bartz's successor to turn the company around than it was for her. [Forbes]
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Having trouble keeping track of who hates who and why in the ménage-à-trois from Hell that is the relationship between Apple, Google and Microsoft? Not to worry! This handy chart should help you to keep things in perspective. Now, if only we could get Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer into an octagon… [Gizmodo]

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Last year, after the failed takeover attempt of Yahoo by Microsoft, the two much smaller legs of the search marketing tripod (which also includes Google as a much, much bigger leg) came together with a different sort of deal. Microsoft will still be taking over Yahoo's search marketing but not taking over Yahoo as a whole. Today, the deal was finally approved by the US government and the European Union.

This brings us full circle. It started with Overture, a smart little company that sort of invented search marketing, in a way, which was purchased years ago by Yahoo. Trhough Overture, you could not only advertise on Yahoo properties, but also on Microsoft's search engine: MSN/Live. Eventually Microsoft realized that they could be making the sort of money that Yahoo was raking in with Overture and decided to part ways and develop their own platform which they labeled MSN adCenter. Overture was renamed Yahoo Search Marketing and carried on with an improved interface. Now, with Yahoo in financial dire straits, Microsoft has come a-knockin' to save it from the revenue stream that it helped to bring to prominence.

This is a really sad development, in my mind. Yahoo was far from perfect and far from Google AdWords, but one thing that it was not, was MSN adCenter. Confused? Fair enough. Basically, Google AdWords is the alpha dog. Not only do you reach more people through it than through Yahoo and MSN/Bing combined, but it is also–by leaps and bounds–the best interface with the best user experience and best tools. Yahoo is a distant second. However, as distant a second as Yahoo may be from Google, MSN is more so a distant third to Yahoo. Using adCenter is the search marketing equivalent of Sisyphusian toil. I won't bother with the details here. My worry, of course, is that, eventually, adCenter and all of its dreadful shortcomings will replace what is a flawed but working Yahoo interface rather than the other way around.

Most people think of me as a pessimist and they're right. I'm the guy with low expectations who is secretly hoping to be pleasantly surprised all the time. I mean, it's possible that a Yahoo/Microsoft cooperative effort will actually increase competition with Google and, therefore, drive improvements all around, right? I don't know, my hopes are pretty low; they are almost as low as when I saw the movie Valentine's Day this past weekend. Those were some monumentally low hopes. Even still, Valentine's Day still managed to disappoint. So, to Microsoft, I proffer, "Please, if possible, consider that if you blow this, you will have succeed in trumping the movie Valentine's Day at being remarkably terrible despite impossibly low expectations."

Please don't blow this. [ReadWriteWeb]

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Bill Gates is one of the smartest guys in the whole world; that’s undeniable. However, in the world of search engine optimization–a world of nuanced intelligence–that doesn’t mean jack squat! One of my industry heroes, Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand, gives Bill some much needed SEO advice about ranking higher in Google for his personal blog.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Maybe Bill Gates doesn’t care that his blog shows up below impostor blogs. After all, Google is his enemy!” That’s cool, that makes sense. Unfortunately for Bill, his blog doesn’t even show up on Bing’s first page at all! If you’re in the search engine marketing business, that’s high comedy. If you aren’t, then this is probably the most boring blog entry you’ve ever read. Sorry about that! [SearchEngineLand]