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Story here [informationweek.com].
The addition of Ask.com's sites to its paid search service will expose Microsoft's customer listings to an additional 5% of search traffic.
That takes Microsoft's network a step closer to Yahoo, which in June captured 25.1% of all search traffic...
If they go down the list of top 300 or so non-chinese sites/networks, then may be they will be able to work out traffic deals to get a few percentage points on Google and Yahoo. Although it gets crowded in top 100, most of these are taken...a few social networks and photo sites left, not many buying customers there...
Maybe MS can hook up with a larger domainers for a traffic deal ;)
Maybe I should suggest...
Idea 1: a #1 russian search engine is about to go public at $1 billion dollars offering. It has their own ad network...if MS can purchase a bulk of it, maybe they'll get a) another revenue stream, b) will stick a fork in Google's attempt to take over Russia's fast growing internet market (#25 and #40 sites on Alexa), and c) will finally get acquainted with a huge doorway and other gray method traffic generation that is so big in Russia.
Is it going to help with % points overall? Definitely. In US? Nah, probably not immediately
Idea 2: buy a doorway and other gray method traffic generator Searchfeed, or a similar network.
hope they make it easy to opt out.
if this is the beginning of the growth of MSN's partner network, what comes after Ask... Miva and 7search and abcsearch? why commingle a 2nd tier engine with a first tiers ads? answer is, share. nobody's talking about quality, just share.
i think a closer eye on roi for msn ads is in order.
and i've got my fingers crossed for seeing that opt out button, but i won't be holding my breath.