Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Feb. 5 Yahoo Becomes Google

Yahoo annouced their change of ad serving to include that Google favorite Quality Score. Read the release so you know what I am ranting about.

Sunnyvale, Calif. January 23, 2007 – Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide, today announced that it will launch its new search marketing ranking model in the U.S. on Monday, February 5. With the new ranking model, all Yahoo! search marketing ads in the U.S. will be ranked by quality in addition to keyword bid price. As a result, Yahoo! will be able to provide a more relevant search experience to users, more valuable customer leads to advertisers, and additional opportunities to its distribution partners.

“Yahoo! is very excited to introduce our new, more quality-focused ranking model because it has the power to significantly enhance the experience we deliver to our users and unlock the full potential of Yahoo!’s search marketing network,” said Terry Semel, chief executive officer, Yahoo! Inc. “With this important piece in place our new search marketing system will allow Yahoo! to more effectively connect people with the businesses, products, services and information they are passionate about.”

To date, search ads on Yahoo! and its distribution partner sites have been ranked solely by bid price – the higher the bid, the higher an ad appears within the search results. When the new ranking model goes into effect, both bid and the ad’s quality together will determine where an ad appears in the search results. The quality of an ad will be determined by its historical performance in the new system and its expected performance relative to other ads displayed at the same time. Ads of higher quality will generally receive better placement on the results page.

“By encouraging advertisers to focus on the quality of their ads, we can deliver a better search experience for all of our customers. Everybody wins.” said Tim Cadogan, Yahoo!’s vice president, search marketing. “We firmly believe that delivering more relevant ads to users will result in more quality leads to advertisers, invite even more participation in our network and ultimately create a more valuable marketplace for users, advertisers, publishers and Yahoo!.”

With this change, Yahoo! is providing advertisers with industry-leading marketplace visibility and features that allow them to better understand their performance and make informed marketing decisions. Advertisers who have upgraded to the new system (code named “Panama”) can gauge the quality of their ads by viewing the prominently displayed quality index within the Panama application. Yahoo! also provides advertisers with an estimated average position and estimated forecast of clicks for their ad campaigns, based on budget allocation and ad quality.

As a result of its customer-focused approach, Yahoo! continues to receive positive feedback about its new system and the upgrade experience.

“Internet search marketing is one of the most important ways in which our automotive customers connect with vehicle buyers, and Yahoo!’s Panama system makes it even easier for us to deliver that connection,” said John Holt, CEO of The Cobalt Group, a leading provider of marketing services to the automotive industry. “The transition to Yahoo!’s new system has been seamless for us, our clients are responding very positively to the new features, and we’re fully prepared to help our customers maximize the quality of their ads when Yahoo! switches over to its new relevancy-based ranking model.”

Yahoo! will continue to send upgrade invitations to advertisers in the U.S. throughout Q1 2007 and anticipates that all active U.S. advertisers will be upgraded to the new system by the end of the quarter. Advertisers that wish to schedule their upgrade as early as possible can make a request through the upgrade reservation page: http://advision.webevents.yahoo.com/newsponsoredsearch/invite/.

Yahoo! plans to begin the roll out of the new platform in non-US markets in Q2 2007. International rollout will be conducted on a market-by-market basis and will follow a similar process as in the U.S. by introducing the system interface first, followed by the new ranking model.

To sign up online for a new Yahoo! account or to learn more about the new search marketing system, please visit: http://signup.marketingsolutions.yahoo.com

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo!’s mission is to connect people to their passions, their communities, and the world’s knowledge. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties concerning Yahoo!'s new search marketing system and related strategic and operational plans. Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in this press release due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the successful implementation, and acceptance by advertisers, of the Company’s new search marketing system, and the reduction in spending by, or loss of, marketing services customers. More information about potential factors that could affect the Company's business and financial results is included under the captions, "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005 and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2006 which are on file with the SEC and available at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Arbitrage Issue Discussed at Directmag

My involvement in the arbitrage issue was highlighted in the recent issue of DirectMag.

I remember talking with Brian Quinton both in August in San Jose and then at Chicago. The Chicago arbitrage panel was a lot more unfettered.

Hell, we did not have a moderator until the last few minutes - so everyone was jumping on each others opinions. Sadly, Kim Malone of Google AdSense removed herself from the Chicago panel.

Guess she knew this issue was getting a little too hot and could only come out bad for her company. And she would have been right. Both Google and Yahoo came in for some abuse on how they have allowed this situation impact everyone in the industry either directly or indirectly.

I tried to get others from MSN and Yahoo to take her spot and everyone said no.

This one is not going away any time soon.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Microsoft Gives Bloggers Laptops With Vista; And Grief From Others in Industry

Funny, the concept seemed sound. Get some well known bloggers to use the new Vista operating system and write about it. And to make it easy to do it, Microsoft sent about 90 laptops with the operating system installed.

The things had not even arrived before the bitching began. Bribes, yelled many. Bill is buying good press, yelled others . Some talked of journalistic integrity - others I think bitched because they were not on the receiving list.

Come on folks get a grip!

True the laptops (mostly Acer Ferraris) were worth over $2,000 each. But they were a clever way to get Vista on a system they knew was built to show its optimium potential. Why put high octane in a 4 cylinder Rabbit....

You have the laptop, do you really think the people who got them would feel pressure to sing false praise? If that is the case we should question all the blogs that are out there - including this one. But hey everyone knows you can't buy me - rent sure - but I am not for sale!

Let's be real.... I would have kept the machine - not sent it back to Microsoft or give it to charity... it has Vista already installed... it would have been a fun thing to have.

Hey I got an Ipod from Google for Christmas - and nothing from MSN - but I am not trashing them and praising Google... right now Google is doing more 'evil' things than MSN.

Search Engine Watch Wins News Blog of 2006

Loren Baker's Search Engine Journal has announced their Search Awards for 2006. Search Engine Watch won for Best News Blog.

Guess the new crew has a lot to live up to next year. Plus Search Engine Land will be in the mix next year so it should be an interesting contest for 2007. I think the effort that went into the SEW News Blog is something that should be recognised.

Sadly the loss of Danny and crew will be a watershed for SEW. This year will see alot of comparisons. I am hoping it just makes all efforts stronger - time will tell.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Google Using Algo To Sort Through Job Applicants

Guess you can do a multiple choice or short answer test to improve your chances of employment at Google. Wonder how long it takes for someone to start selling the "Google Employment Hack."

The questionaire is being used to help sort through the myriad of appliucations Google gets - hey free meals, massages and all the other perks - no wonder Senior VPs are applying for junior VP jobs....

Google has always been creative with its employment practices. They used to have (could still) a billboard in the Silicon Valley area that was an equation that gave a phone number as the answer... guess you worked it out and called and went to the top of the hiring list!

I am really good at Soduko and crossword puzzles.... and am a wiz at analytics, excell .... oh wait I don't need a job... or want to change - well maybe when Eric Schmidt steps down - that would at least be a real challenge.

The article is here for those interested.