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MySpace goes Google

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday August 8, 2006 )

Like we never knew it would happen :).

In a blow for Yahoo, Google has inked a deal with MySpace said to be worth a minimum $900 million to provide search results for the social networking giant… and of course, the accompanying AdWords advertising.

I checked MySpace profile numbers a few minutes ago and the tally of MySpacers was at 99,685,307 – and ticking over fast. It was at 66 million just a few months ago. MySpace currently receives over 50 million unique visits a month.

The reason for the switch to Google was reported to be because MySpace had noticed users abandoning the MySpace search facility powered by Overture (Yahoo). One guess where those users were heading to. Google.

Ouch. Glad I’m not on the Yahoo Search team.

Personally, I don’t believe it was just the quality of the results, but how those results are presented on MySpace. No doubt Google will be giving them some gentle coaching on this issue.

The new search arrangement will appear in fourth quarter of 2006 and the contract is initially for 3.75 years – which is basically forever on the web. I guess various NewsCorp/MySpace bosses will be yelling “Bite me!” to all the detractors who stated that the site couldn’t generate any cash.

I think the deal is somewhat of a bargain for Google given the number of users it will gain increased access to; but as mentioned, the $900 million is a minimum figure. Google search will also be replacing Overture/Yahoo on some other Newscorp properties.

Just to rub salt into the wounds for Yahoo, and for that matter, MSN Search, Hitwise today announced that Google now accounts for over 60% of searches conducted in the U.S. This new deal is sure to see that figure rise again by the end of final quarter for this year.

Google does have a superior product, but it does seriously concern me that they have such a large share of the market; especially now that they are a public company.

The situation with Google is a different scenario to Microsoft’s monopoly in my opinion.

If you’re a desktop software developer and want to create Windows software, you develop to specifications and the software will work.

If you’re a webmaster and you develop a site to search engines specifications (guidelines), there’s no guarantee you’ll be listed and certainly no guarantee you’ll be decently ranked, even if you do have the superior site.

In the search engine landscape of just a couple of years ago, the market share of the big 3 engines was a little more balanced, even if Google was still the dominant player. The opportunities for ranking well *and* getting appreciable traffic from different search engines were a little more evenly spread.

I see Google reaching 70% market share before long – and there will be a lot of engines scrabbling for a slice of the 30% – and with those engines offering an inferior product, then the search engine spammers may well dominate on those.

If you’re doing well on Google, I guess it’s all great news. But bear in mind, Google giveth and Google taketh away – and if the latter should occur, not a tear will be shed except for your own. Still, gaining decent Google organic (free)rankings should be an important part of any web site marketing strategy.

It will be very interesting to see what tools and strategies develop in the world of web marketing over the next couple of years that the one-man-show type web sites can use to lessen their reliance on search engine traffic.

Perhaps it will just increasingly become a world of pay to play?

Commercialization of the web is complete; now comes the corporatization.

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