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Yahoo’s Search Suffering Isn’t News, But Recovery Through Innovation Is

Written on
Apr 13, 2011 
Author
Gavin Dunaway  |

yahoo_smallADOTAS – As Yahoo’s board of directors descend on Silicon Valley for their annual meeting, some anonymous source told BoomTown’s Kara Swisher that Y’s search business has “fallen off the cliff.”

That’s news? Is that even gossip?

The gossip angle is that so far Microsoft is not driving the search share Yahoo execs hoped for when Bing took over the back-end of Yahoo’s search function. comScore’s March search scores show that Yahoo.com continues to lose increments of its search share to both Google and Bing, which doesn’t bode well for the Binghoo partnership.

Once Bing took over the back end, the incorrect notion went around that searching on Bing and Yahoo would be exactly the same. However, Yahoo has made some impressive moves to differentiate its user search experience from Bing, and by extension Google since Bing isn’t that much different from that perspective.

The latest is the most impressive — Yahoo Search Direct, which places “instant” results and page previews right in the query box. Most users won’t even need to leave the box, said Shashi Seth, senior vice president of Search Products, during the launch. In theory, Search Direct boxes could be embedded all over Yahoo sites or third-party sites.

The advertising potential is the most exciting aspect as paid search could finally extend into display and video — with these ads appearing in the search box.

But this is all potential — and board members should see how to make it a reality ASAP. If Yahoo builds it, advertisers will come — “paid search” featuring video, banners or even offers could easily be bundled into display packages, and display is back on the upswing for Yahoo. As user discontent with the search status quo continues to manifest, something new and (fingers crossed) proficient could entice searchers to come back to an old friend (if they’re not already sold on Facebook for searching).

Yahoo’s flailing search business is not news — the fact that there appears to be a ladder out of the hole is.





Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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