Fast Five in Search – Week 48, 2014

fast-five

 

So this week I’ve been reviewing our Search Industry Event Timeline which forms part of our introductory SEO course at Search Engine College. I was struck by the sheer number of acquisitions made by search giant Yahoo over the past 20 years and how controversial some of those purchases have been for them.

So this week I give you: the Five Most Controversial Purchases Made by Yahoo.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) January 1999: Yahoo Acquired Geocities for $4.58 billion

In the 1990’s, before the rise of Content Management Systems and online web page builder services such as Google Sites and WordPress, there was Geocities. Everyone could have a web page at Geocities and populate it with as many animated gifs and flashing headlines as they liked. Yahoo saw the potential for eyeballs that Geocities presented and purchased the service for a whopping US$4.58 billion in stock in January, 1999, then proceeded to completely ignore it. The site finally died from neglect in 2009.

2) July 2003: Yahoo Purchased Overture for $1.63 billion

This purchase was a direct response to the growing success of Google’s AdWords paid advertising program. Originally known as GoTo.com, Overture was the first paid search advertising program and had no serious rivals until Google launched AdWords in 2000. Yahoo’s purchase included search engines AltaVista and AllTheWeb, which Overture had acquired just a few months earlier. Yahoo later rebranded Overture as Yahoo Search Marketing and ran it haphazardly until it became clear it was no rival for AdWords. In 2010, Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft morphed the program into Microsoft adCenter and the combined service eventually became known as Bing Ads.

3) March 2005: Yahoo Bought Flickr for Between $22 and $25 million

There was enormous outcry when Yahoo! acquired photo sharing service Flickr and its creator Ludicorp. The acquisition reportedly cost somewhere between $22 and $25 million and was announced almost casually on the Flickr blog. Most people agree that Yahoo’s purchase ruined Flickr forever.

4) December 2005: Yahoo Acquired del.icio.us for an Estimated $20 million

Online bookmarking service del.icio.us was purchased by Yahoo late 2005 for an estimated $20 million. The once respected social sharing site was left to flounder for 6 years, before being sold off to the founders of YouTube in April 2011.

and finally…

5) May 2013: Yahoo Purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Yahoo’s purchase of blogging and publishing platform Tumblr in mid 2013 was met with shrieks of horror from the blogging community, who had witnessed the slow death of other Internet services purchased by the search giant. Announced directly on her own cutesy Tumblr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw it up”. Whether that happens remains to be seen. The most positive feedback I can find since the purchase is a comment from Tumblr founder David Karp who admits that Yahoo has allowed Tumblr to maintain independence so far. Although that may change soon because apparently Yahoo is trying to turn Tumblr into a competitor for YouTube.

I wonder what Yahoo will buy next?

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Download your Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

 

Share this post with others

Microhoo Deal Given Thumbs Up to Proceed

Microsoft and Yahoo announced today that their planned Search Alliance has been given the go-ahead by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission without any restrictions.

The exact implementation is yet to be announced, but will involve Yahoo shifting their organic and paid search operations to Microsoft. Yahoo will then display primary search results from Bing and enhance them with Yahoo content.

From Yahoo’s official press release:

“Implementation of the deal is expected to begin in the coming days and will involve transitioning Yahoo!’s algorithmic and paid search platforms to Microsoft, with Yahoo! becoming the exclusive relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers globally. Once the transition is completed, the companies’ unified search marketplace will deliver improved innovation for consumers, better volume and efficiency for advertisers and better monetization opportunities for web publishers through a platform that contains a larger pool of search queries.”

Advertising for both companies will be managed by Microsoft’s adCenter platform (meaning the closure of Yahoo Search Marketing) and prices for all search ads will be set by AdCenter’s automated auction process.

According to a memo sent to all Yahoo advertisers today:

  • Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers will log into one place – Microsoft’s adCenter – to manage campaigns, for greater efficiency and a better ROI.
  • Yahoo is hoping to transition advertisers and partners in the U.S. prior to October 2010, but may wait until 2011 for efficiency reasons.
  • Advertisers will reach users on Yahoo! and Microsoft sites as well as other premium partner sites, with a single buy on adCenter.
  • Yahoo will give Search Marketing advertisers 3 months warning of any changes to take place.

The two search giants have created a web site dedicated to the partnership and Yahoo has implemented a Transition Center for advertisers.

What does it mean for the search industry? To use a silly dinosaur analogy, (because who doesn’t like those?), it means that Bing the Triceratops and Yahoo the Brontosaurus have just combined to become an aggressive Tyrannosaurus Rex that’s going on a hunt for the Google Gigantosaurus.

Should be quite a spectacle.

Share this post with others

The Microhoo Jaw Dropper

jaw dropIf you’re a blogger in the search industry, you’re probably still reeling from the jaw-dropping news that broke on Saturday: Microsoft has made a 45 billion bid to purchase Yahoo.

So if this rather ambitious acquisition proceeds, what exactly will this mean for the search industry? There is a lot of speculation right now that it will never happen, but let’s just imagine it did.

For starters, I’m sure MS would scrap their existing PPC offering AdCenter and incorporate the better known Yahoo Search Marketing system under their own brand. They would also likely scrap Yahoo’s Directory and combine the Yahoo search data with their own Live Search results to create a super search engine of sorts, running on their own algorithm.

The new Microhoo could be a definite threat to Google. Just how the acquisition could or should proceed is perhaps the most interesting part of the whole deal. There are bound to be market monopoly issues at stake. You can bet both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are watching the unfolding saga very closely.

Meanwhile reactions from bloggers in the search industry are fun to watch.

Share this post with others