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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What Happens to MSN and Yahoo When they Hit Single Digits?

On Dec. 10 I alluded cryptically to the scary-low search referral share numbers that site owners are often reporting, flying in the face (as usual) of the official stats showing Google's share to be anywhere from 45-62%.

Seeing those numbers, my question was: what would happen in a world where Yahoo and MSN search market shares were in the single digits? Or wait a minute, are we already in a world like that?

Some of the rationale for being so weirded out was seeing private site data, of course, but nothing too sweeping or conclusive. But then it was confirmed for me by Richard Zwicky of Enquisite, who showed me some stats aggregated across a whole bunch (many thousands) of sites, confirming Google search market share (mostly North American data but I think there may be some skew towards Canada and Australia?) at a whopping 78%!

Rich Skrenta chimed into this debate in a big way today in a post called Google's true search market share. Looking at as much data as he can, he pegs Google's U.S. share at 70% or so.

As for the #2 and #3 players: what's your identity now, if it isn't to "beat Google"?

Thinking it over, the answer: "to get better in areas other than search" isn't gonna cut it, just yet. Let's not let these guys throw in the towel!

Nope, I think at least Yahoo can still claw back some of that share. But only by implementing my idea of making the home page just a search box for a month. OK, two weeks.

Then, you gotta put search boxes everywhere. Partner with grocery stores to power "store search." Buy up the airports, hotels; give away televisions, cars. Whatever you gotta do. Issue those junk bonds. But you've got to get some of that share back. One leading search engine is just too boring.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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