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Steel Cage Match - 4 Left Standing: Yahoo, Google, AskJeeves, and Overture.

 2:08 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

How do you feel it is going to effect marketing and the internet in general?



 2:16 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Assuming that ASK is out of the picture, which I don't believe that they are, I think it will make things very interesting.

It is good to see things shaken up a bit after such a long period of banging our heads against the wall chanting Google, Google, Google.

I don't think that Yahoo will play as much of a role in this battle as Google and Overture, but they could. Yahoo has INK, and while their algo isn't in comparison to Fast's or Google's, it has gotten better.

Overture has the branding of AltaVista, the great search technology of Fast, Fast's branding and market share in Europe, as well as Overture's current branding and large PPC presence within the US and abroad. They could make some very big moves with this arsenal.

Google, in my opinion, needs to make some big moves. Overture is grabbing up everything in sight, and obviously making some big plans. What does Google have up its sleeve? I sincerely hope it is not just the IPO, as I think this will do more harm than good.

How will this affect marketing? Tough to say without really knowing what Overture plans to do with all of this. I don't see it affecting SEO or SEM all that much in the near future. If Overture is head-to-head with Google in a year, I think it will have a positive effect, as we will have another medium to utilize instead of simply Google.

[edited by: agerhart at 2:21 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2003]


 2:19 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm...big question.

Gut reaction:

- All-in-one bundles of PPC and PFI buys (but more expensive)
- Better search analysis tools and results as PPC and normal search technologies are developed side by side
- more people trying to do SEO/PPC as the market becomes less confusing
- 2 years time: it happens all again as new technologies mature?

- And Yahoo! need a PPC - inhouse development maybe? It's been hinted at before.


 2:25 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I hope that Overture builds and promotes AV/Fast as straight competition to Google.

I suspect we will see more branding ads for the majors over the next year.


 2:28 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that Overture will dump the free submissions at both AV and ATW, leaving only PFI at both, in an attempt to increase revenue.

Overture has done well marketing and branding their PPC product. I hope that they do the same for Fast's search technology.


 2:28 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>> How do you feel it is going to effect marketing and the internet in general?

For PPC worshippers like me, these little things don't matter.. I think...


 2:32 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can see lots of cross selling of PFI from Overture coming our way!


 2:34 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I see a lot more money being spent on the Internet. The days of small players looks to be ending. We are looking at large conglomerates. The Internet is starting to look like real world business. Small start ups will be squashed. I think Google brought us here, but they need to keep reevaluating their business or they will be left behind.

I do see ask as still a player. Unless someone gobbles up Overture I see them as having the ability to take on Google. I am not sure they know how to do it though. It will be interesting. I think we will see people start to take other engines seriously instead of just try to rank on google.


 2:38 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Monopolies are always good for the masses...just ask any shareholder:)

As the internet moves more and more to a "pay for play" business model, especially in the world of search engines IMHO it's overall popularity will drop. It is bad enough we are bombarded with advertising on the majority of sites today, now searching will be controlled by dollars.

We have seen many changes over the years, but this set of purchases and mergers is to me some of the most disturbing yet. When we get down to two maybe three altenatives left from which to access information on the net, who's the winner? Makes it easier to manage for positioning...but at what cost?


 2:38 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the medium players time is over. Small niche players will have eventually more space to live, but players like Espotting or ASK are facing hard times.

For the marketeer this means pay to play on all ends. Should Google start their PFI following their IPO the times of fast and easy money for small sites should come to an end.


 2:40 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I see a lot more money being spent on the Internet.

exactly. However I see the Overture monster to loose market share as they try to find a modus to deal with all these different entities, all seperatly or together in one.

Google will sooner or later leak profits, coming mainly from their PPC, which will be astounding!

MSN will wake up to these profits and start investing heavily in their own PPC and buy some real search engine. They will finally understand that PPC profitabilaty only comes with an excellent search engine.


 2:44 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Vitaplease, I can't believe MS has not the new OV in the bag already, at least per partnership.


 2:45 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

MSN will wake up to these profits and start investing heavily in their own PPC and buy some real search engine. They will finally understand that PPC profitabilaty only comes with an excellent search engine.

I think MSN has already started this stage, as Featured listings are becoming more popular for the masses and are moving over to CPC rather than CPM models.

They have the technolgy in place, and may just be using Overture as a testing bed for the future.



 2:53 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)


Maybe, but I would see MSN buying OV as messy indigestion.

How long did MSN sign a deal for with OV? and was this exclusive?

[edited by: vitaplease at 2:53 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2003]


 2:53 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't really see how Overture is going to take on Google, at least anytime in the next two years.

Sure they might generate a lot more revenue than Google but from gaining user interest I don't believe they will get very far.

FAST / AllTheWeb and Altavista hardly provide any substantial traffic. If they remain as search engines it will take years to gain a large user base again. By that time it will be too late. Microsoft will be flooding the markets with wireless and home internet appliances that will make online surfing/shopping a breeze.

Overture can target portal companies currently powered by Google, with promised pots of milk and honey but how far will that go in retaining user interest.

A large number of users are comfortable with Yahoo and will stay with them for a long time. Google has just now established themselves in that arena too. ATW/FAST never had it. Alta had it but lost it.

MSN needs to buy up Ask / Teoma.


 2:56 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Does anybody see AOL playing any role in this game anymore?


 3:01 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think AOL will be too busy watching their bottom line for a while to invest in tech / an existing engine.

They've got Google PPC in the US, Overture in Europe. A good opportunity to watch both and decide which to eventually switch to?

Of course, it will have all changed again by then...


 3:03 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've more than tripled my spending at Google adwords in the last month.

My Overture funds are not getting consumed.

Search engine stats for me are now (a frightening?) 93% Google and its partners.

How do you feel it is going to effect marketing and the internet in general?

For me it has already happened..and I doubt it will reverse..with what is around at the moment, even with latest changes.


 5:06 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

The days of Google having around 80% of market share for search are over.

Overture will make AV a portal with OVER PPC, AV PFI, Fast Search.

Google will IPO and also become a portal and it will be every portal for themselves. Google will lose Yahoo and eventually AOL and will be down to ~30% market share for search in a matter of 2 yrs.

So everyone better be prepared for a huge drop in free traffic unless you market niche products. Get all the free customers while you can and get ready to do major PFI and PPC in the future for each portal!

The good news at least is top PPC prices may go down since OVER's slice of the pie will decrease and people won't want to maintain 4+ PPC ad campaigns and will most likely only participate in the 1 or 2 they like the most.


 7:11 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's starting look pretty ugly out there.

When things are ready for implementation (technology, management, contracts, etc.), Yahoo will launch their own PPC and SE component...nothing really revolutionary about this, I guess. The directory portion will gain the prominence at Yahoo once again, and SE portion will be used as supplement agent. I am not sure how SERP will be presented, but I assume that the rank will be heavily biased, favoring those within both Directory and Ink index. Though most likely won't happen, I'd like to see Yahoo offering a special deal to the Yahoo store vendors for their new PPC (like 2-for-1...or 1 month trial period for a small flat rate...or something in that nature); I am sure Yahoo wouldn't mind seeing more vendors sign up for Yahoo store...as rent, small or not, is still $$$.

Overture is a toughie...As for now, Overture focuses on providing PPC results to partners and has not branded itself as a SE. This might change...especially if Yahoo start to offer PPC. Acquiring of AV, AV has been branded as a Web search destination...so Overture could capitalize on AV's brand...though I question just how much of AV's brand equity has depreciated. Acquiring of ATW/serch portion of FAST does indicate that Overture is, at least, considering the option of crawl-based SE sector. For Overture, shift in strategy will be tougher to pull off than for Yahoo as Overture's sole core competency is within PPC alone. It will take me by a surprise if Overture starts to brand itself as a Web destination.

Google's trip seems like it's going to be a rocky ride...as of now, Google has no particular reason to go public, but as things change in the industry, Google might feel the need to go public...I can't imagine that Google will ever go near PFI as it will destroy the Google's brand...by the time Google considers PFI, one could assume that Google has lost significant market share...so marketers/webmasters wouldn't feel such a need for PFI in Google...as inclusion probably will not affect the SERP...if anything, very insignificantly

Google does seem like more of a portal than SE nowadays...though it hides well behind the SE feel of homepage...that would be a day to see Google Mail and Google Personals...LOL

I think all that will come out in the end will be more of an equal distribution of marketshare between the big players...I am not sure how much the people will benefit from all this

ATW is my choice of SE...and it will be a very sad for me to see Overture go 'corporate' on ATW

Big players will do what they can to make $$$...i do agree that the Web is becoming more similar to the offline-world...with dominating big players...but then again, it was only matter of time for this channel to be 'corporatized'

<-- End of my mumble -->


 7:38 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I do not see Overture as a threat to Google. Everybody I know sees Google as the best search on the Internet. Why did people leave AV? Because of poor search quality. I believe the same will happen for Overture. They should have stayed in thier little box. They posed no threat to Yahoo!, but now they're trying to expand, and thier partners aren't going to be happy about it.
The feedback I get from advertisers is that Overture isn't delivering the quality traffic that Google does. All of my associates have closed thier Overture accounts and turned to Google.
The Internet can still be a democracy - we vote with our money.


 7:47 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Keep in mind that if Yahoo dumps Overture, that will cut out a large part of Overture's cash flow. I think it is very likely Yahoo will do that--the question is when?

Overture has no choice but to attempt to develop search. Overture may be good for bringing in cash, but their diversification is not so good.


 7:56 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree Overture as a web destination would be DOA. Rather, their work on improving their reporting goes a long way to Overture being a web-based search engine optimzation management tool offering PPC and PFI. After all, SEs have been searching (no pun intended) for revenue while SEO companies have exploded. How many other webmasters would like to manage their SEO directly through the search engine rather than a third party?

What about LookSmart/Wisenut? Will they have to battle Ask/Teoma for MSN?

Why couldn't MSN buy Overture? Really, why didn't MSN just buy FAST and launch their own PFI search?


 8:33 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google will sooner or later leak profits, coming mainly from their PPC, which will be astounding!

Huh? Doesnt google already have like a 70% profit margin?


 8:44 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Google may finally have a competitor- in the Overture/FAST/AltaVista combination. But it all depends on the quality of the editorial-results their combined engine produces. I believe they recognize the value of mostly commercial-free search; hence the appointment of Dr. Gary Flake. That value lies in 2 things: market share and the resulting audience for PPC and other advertising.

It would not surprise me if the Overture team has been watching the thread [webmasterworld.com] on requested-Google-improvements with interest because that reveals potential Google weaknesses and where there's room for improvement. It would not surprise me if a more dominant engine emerged for relevancy (other than Google). Although this may take a period of years (not months).

Because FAST is already profitable (from its enterprise search division), I expect this to continue. I also think many of us here underestimate the global picture that Overture may be considering. (Which is natural, given this forum is conducted in English.)

Google brings in a majority of traffic (for many of our clients- if not ourselves) as a reflection of the market share it commands. Change that by providing an engine that can compete with Google on relevancy and offer greater flexibility in terms of your needs (e.g. languages, natural-language, design, advanced searches, customization, etc.) and traffic will redirect itself based on word-of-mouth (which is how Google emerged in the first case).

Finally, it would not surprise me if amid all this consolidation, someone intelligent in management at one of the search engines- found a way to cooperatively work with SEOs and webmasters in terms of dialogue, tools, and design that benefitted all parties involved. Why should they do this?

More ways will emerge to access info online other than the search engines: e.g. your favorite blogs and forums. Perhaps in time, we'll also have better, customized agents to handle our searches (which will filter out a majority of ads or deliberately include them if relevant).

As for Google, while it faces the challenge of remaining at the forefront of search technology, its need for greater revenue has it looking at other models of profitability. The 2nd most-listed source of traffic (for a majority of us, anyway) after Google is Yahoo. Yahoo's a destination because of its Portal nature. MSN's both a portal and unfortunately a default (simply because the current top browser is run by Microsoft). It wouldn't surprise me if Google continued to acquire (if not create) features that enhanced its possible turn to becoming more than just a search engine. And I'd be very surprised if MS bought Google- just because the cultures are so different. Despite the major advantage MSN has (as a default), Google still trumps. I could see Yahoo & Google aligned but don't know if this is practical. The Yahoogle would be quite a monster!


 8:46 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

What Google has shown is that there is huge demand for quality results.
Everybody fears the results of a possible IPO, but If I bought some Google shares would I want to kill the goose that........?


 8:56 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Your Overture, you have just spent $200+ million in the last month to buy AV and FAST. By buying the two of them, you have hedged your bets against your big clients building their own PPC and squeezing you out because you are now an asset yourself that is worth buying.

You now have all the assets you need, but you are still dependent on everyone else for traffic. Doesn't it make sense to try to further hedge your bets, by trying to resurrect a search brand where you keep 100% of the revenue?

I would not be surprised once they have digested everything to see them throw $10 million into marketing AV or New Brand to try to see if they can compete as a consumer offering.

Search kings have been knocked off before, so why not try it again? Especially now when your business can be modeled in an X volume of searches yields X amount of cash format. Once you have that model down, you just need to figure out if the cost of picking up share is less than the search revenue it returns, and that is where a $10 million experiment would be worthwhile.


 9:32 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

anyone else thinking of buying overture (OVER) down 12% today alone?


 9:35 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the non-commercial content web is being left even further behind.


 9:41 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Okay, don't throw stones at me for bringing this up since it is not a SE, but I think we need to wake up to this lightening in the distance which is getting closer.

Joe Shmoe's web surfing begins with his ISP. In the 3rd quarter, (I think, or 4th Q), AOL lost 107,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, primetime television can't be watched without seeing a Netzero commercial.

If Netzero partned with any search engine to offer their customers search capability from the home page, = Lookout, New player in town!

Netzero is a mini-portal already with all of the basics in place. If they would only partner with a search engine, I predict seeing them grow as a traffic source for all of us.

As more people become internet savy and the computer generation gets older, they might move away from the ISPs (MSN+AOL) that probably introduced them to the internet in the first place. MSN and AOL are both vulnerable to this price cutter.

This is just a hunch I have and something I think we need to pay a little more attention to. But if someone would tell me why they haven't (or can't) partnered with a search engine yet, this post could be nullified.

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