Yahoo! no more!
Some time ago Yahoo announced that they were moving their search platform over to the same system Microsoft have developed with the Bing search engine. This was completed on the 24th August in the US and Canada but the UK still remains on an independent platform where the results are quite different still, considering there was talk of a partial move with some of the algorithms.
This will be completed worldwide by 2012 and the integration will move over all of Yahoo’s back office systems into Microsoft. This even includes their “build your own search engine” system which is no longer going to be available to developers for free. They will also stop the search monkey toolset which is currently available and also put an end to the APIs for Yahoo Site Explorer which is currently a measure used by quite a few search engine toolbars.
Personally I cannot work out this move at all and neither can a number of other people, some who have written articles on the matter and others who have just left comments on blogs. The batch of comments on the official Yahoo post discussing the matter highlight my exact problem, why would people now choose to use Yahoo at all, at least as an “alternative” to Bing considering it’s exactly the same? This is the same story all across the internet with some people now focusing on the fact that with Bing and Yahoo combining efforts, it may actually put a dent in Google, but most on the point that with Yahoo using Bing, it will only last a short time before people just go direct to Bing and Yahoo will eventually die out.
What is really strange is that Yahoo now claim their focus is going to focusing on “technology innovation in the search experience to bring more value to users and advertisers alike” but quite how this is going to happen when its all coming from Bing is not clear. They even discuss the issue of now charging for services that were previously free in a positive light like there is some benefit to this, despite not even mentioning that the cost may be justified by some new functionality on these services.
What will this mean for users and advertisers?
Well not that much for users I don’t think, as all the traffic from Yahoo will eventually move to Bing or more likely to Google. With Yahoo UK getting the update to their search soon, users will have no benefit of using Yahoo at all once this is live and the other services have shut down or started charging. So people will then be left with a choice of Bing and Google, and unless something major is announced on the Bing engine that can out do Google, it is unlikely to make the dent in Google that some people predict.
For advertisers it does mean one less channel to operate on if the decline does indeed occur. As this will lead to higher traffic on the other engines, this will mean a likely rise in costs for advertisers although ones doing a good job will see benefits from the increased traffic. The one main problem will be the loss of the niche markets that are sometimes available on Yahoo. These are keyword areas and interests that are represented by the Yahoo demographic and can often be small but cheap sales. For some companies, finding these customers again at the same acquisition rates may not be an easy task.
I will keep you all updated as and when there is more concrete news on a UK deadline for the switch.Tweet