Yahoo Retools Bidding Platform

NEW YORK Yahoo said it would migrate its U.S. search advertisers to its new ranking system on Feb. 5.
The transition is a critical bet for Yahoo, which has fallen behind Google in the booming search marketing space.
The key change for advertisers will be the new ranking methodology.

Under its current system, advertisers bidding the highest for terms are listed first when those words are searched. Its new platform takes a cue from Google by basing rank on a combination of the click price bid and its click rate, both past and expected. This means an ad with a lower bid price but higher click rate could rank higher.

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel said the "quality-focused ranking model" should "allow Yahoo to more effectively connect people with the businesses, products, services and information they are passionate about."
Rehabbing its search ad system has been a top priority at Yahoo, as its previous one did not generate as much revenue as Google’s.

Separately, Yahoo reported financial results that were dreary compared to the industry as a whole. Its revenue for the fourth quarter was $1.7 billion, up 13 percent from a year earlier. Net income was $268.7 million, down from $683.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Search Engines Try Out New Variations

By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO
WSJ

The biggest names in Internet searching are spinning
off some siblings — test sites for trying out new features that could
spell big changes for Web search as it exists today.

In September, Google
launched SearchMash.com without the Google name, although it is
mentioned in the site’s privacy policy. SearchMash displays a subset of
the normal Google search results in an entirely different interface,
with video, blog and image results on the same screen.

IAC/InterActiveCorp‘s
Ask.com recently launched Ask X, at AskX.com, which divides the results
page into an unusual three-panel display. Besides the standard search
results, users see suggested terms to help narrow or expand the search,
as well as results broken down by categories such as news and
dictionary results.

Yahoo
now uses AlltheWeb.com and AltaVista.com, both of which it acquired in
recent years, to experiment with processes like "livesearch," a feature
that will start suggesting search terms for you when you type just one
letter.

Additionally, Microsoft‘s
Windows Live unit is attempting to provide some entertainment on its
recently launched MsDewey.com, a search engine where users pose their
queries to prerecorded video clips of an actress playing the role of
Ms. Dewey, a brassy and attractive woman in a low-cut black dress. Ms.
Dewey pipes back with one of some 1,000 scripted responses pegged to
what the user typed, while the search results appear on the side.

The search engines are no strangers to testing new
concepts before they hit prime time, and they have operated their own
internal test sites and labs for years. But now, they are making their
bold new ideas more public and asking users for feedback.

The sibling sites generally package the same set of
search results you would find on the branded sites in new ways. For
example, the major search engines so far have resisted combining
various types of searches — like image search, video search and local
search — on one screen, worried that consumers would find it too
messy. But the spinoffs are embracing that approach.

Another theme: trying to help users refine their
searches without having to start all over again. Google’s SearchMash,
which rotates new features in and out every few weeks, has also
experimented with blending in spell-check-adjusted results.

The new moves come at a time when the standard search
model hasn’t changed much in almost a decade. But Internet users are
looking for new ways to search more content — including proliferating
video, blogs, photos and social-networking profiles — more easily.

HotelCast 2.0 Our PodCast is Here!

Lodging Interactive announced today that it has  launched HotelCast2.0,
the hotel industry’s first monthly podcast educational series for hotel
managers.  Each monthly podcast offers the latest Internet marketing
news and information to empower hotel managers to maximize their online
revenue potential.

Click to Listen…

Google has integrated YouTube videos into Google Video

Google has integrated YouTube videos into Google Video, and results for videos appearing on YouTube now appear on Google Video. When users click on those videos, they are taken to YouTube.com. The sites are remaining separate and will "play to their repsective strengths" according to a YouTube rep.

This change benefits both companies in several ways. First, it pushes a signiifcant amount of traffic to YouTube. That in itself is worthwhile, especially as Google seeks to support YouTube as the No. 1 video-sharing site. The more popular YouTube grows, the more leverage Google will have to negotiate with the TV networks and advertisers.

This strategy also benefits Google Video, which could now look more attractive to advertisers given its expanded inventory.

The change comes one day after Fox subpoenaed YouTube to learn the identity of a user who had uploaded copyrighted works.

Yahoo To Add Quality Score To Panama Feb. 5th

“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.”

Click here to read more…

The Google Dance

Ever notice how sometimes you Google something you’re looking and remember seeing it in the top rankings and it’s now gone.  Welcome to the Google dance.  I found a very long article explaining this Google Dance, but have summized it for you.

In a nutshell Google results are not cast in stone. If you ever wonder why your search results do not match the
rankings that you’ve found on previous searches, consider the following:

1) Google does not update once a month, they are constantly updating their data.
2) Google has many data centers.
3)
Not all of the data centers are exact clones of one another. They can
differ in what underlying data they contain as well as how they sort
results.
4) The location of your IP address as well as the location of your customer’s IP address can affect search results.

While these 4 items are not the only factors that can affect search
results (further discussion could be made regarding the differences
that can be observed due to cookies, prior search history being saved
and used to bias future searches,
and other factors), these 4 issues are often among the more commonly
identified issues that come up when speaking with clients and managers
who are not SEO savvy.

Yahoo announced on the Yahoo Search blog on Friday that a search index update is underway

"We are in the process of rolling out some changes to our search results. As
usual, you may be seeing some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of
the pages that are included in the index throughout this process. This update
began last night and should be complete very soon," writes Yahoo’s Priyank Garg.

Google And Yahoo Gain Search Share

Google and Yahoo continue to increase their share of the online U.S. search market share at the expense of competing search engines.

Last December, Google sites fielded 47.4% of U.S. search queries, a 0.4 percentage point rise from November 2006, according to comScore Networks, an Internet metrics company. Yahoo sites in December saw 28.5% of U.S. search queries, a 0.3 percentage point increase from the previous month.

Click here to read more…

JupiterResearch Forecasts $128 Billion Online Spend

JupiterResearch, a leading authority on the impact of the Internet and emerging consumer technologies on business, finds that $128 billion in travel will be sold online in the United States in 2011. According to a new report by JupiterResearch, “US Travel Forecast, 2006 to 2011,” 38 percent of travel revenue will be made online in 2011.

“Online travel revenue will continue to grow strongly from $85 billion in 2006,” said Diane Clarkson, Analyst at JupiterResearch and lead author of the report. “Factors that will spur online spending are greater consumer wallet share, increasingly sophisticated products available online, and improved online compliance in business travel.”

Higher fares and an increase in people flying have driven total air revenue to $138 billion in 2006, with $49 billion of that spent online. JupiterResearch forecasts that this figure will grow to $72 billion in 2011. Additionally, hotels will continue to see a shift to online sales as more travelers shift from hotels’ telephone reservations to their websites.

Click here to read more.

Your Google Ad Coming to A Billboard Near You!

 Google Patent Filing Hints at Digital Billboard Ad Network

If patent filings
are anything to go by, contextual advertising powered by Google will
start appearing on digital billboards in a shopping mall near you.

The
Mountain View, Calif. search marketing giant has filed a patent
application for technology that lets local stores tie their stock
control computers to a Google-powered ad network, a strong hint that
the company is planning to expand expansion beyond Web, print and radio
advertising.

The patent, filed December 21, 2006 with the USPTO
(United States Patent and Trademark Office), covers systems and methods
for allocating advertising space in a “network of electronic display
devices.”

Click here to read more…