“Google, Google, GOOGLE!”

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Does Yahoo have a bit of a Jan Brady complex? It would certainly appear so, especially when it comes to their apparently more-popular sister Google.

Evidently, a sizable amount of Web users have been querying Yahoo for Google terms (“google”, “search google” and “google.com” in particular), in fact “Google” currently appears to be their #1 most often searched term. In an attempt to leverage this data, Yahoo now offers these searchers a friendly reminder that they too have a nifty search engine…even after people have just used it! The screenshot below tells the whole tale:

Is this a trick of some sort? Surely people already realize that Yahoo can assist them in searching the web, isn’t this shortcut a bit redundant? And confusing as well; imagine hundreds of confused web-users retyping their query into this new box, repeating the cycle until frustration takes over and they swear off the internet forever!

Alright, that may be a little drastic but it’s still a potentially knotty issue in the typically silky-smooth user architecture of Yahoo. Furthermore what kind of effects will this have on the quality on content made available for Yahoo users? Some traffic gurus are noting a distinct drop off in traffic from Yahoo News following this implementation, with the referring keyword “google” conspicuously absent from log files.

Why would anyone be doing a search for “Google.com” at Yahoo anyway? From prior talks with friends (especially the less web-savvy), I’m frequently amazed by the number of people that confess to typing full URL’s (complete with “www” prefixes and the “.com” at the tail end) into search engines.

Some people admit to confusing a toolbar search box with the address bar, while others claim that this method of locating websites “is just easier”. Ok. There’s also some people that have a Yahoo site set as their homepage but prefer to use Google for search purposes; no wonder Yahoo has a bit of a Jan Brady complex. So for whatever reasons, it DOES appear that this condition indeed exists within the SEM landscape.

So is this simply an instance of Yahoo trying to make their site “stickier” for those unclear how to use it? Or a frantic attempt to try and keep searchers from using a competing site? Probably a little bit of both, however the public perception and unspoken rhetoric behind this move speaks far more than Yahoo is willing to on the subject.

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