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Friday, February 01, 2008

MSN/Yahoo! Merger – Next Steps…

As you’ve probably heard by now, things are getting quite interesting in terms of the search engine wars. Today’s offer by MSN to purchase Yahoo! for 44.6 billion is no stretch of the imagination as there have been rumors about this for quite some time. If the deal goes through, it will be interesting to see which of the advertising platforms MSN/Yahoo will adopt. Here are some scenarios:

1) Yahoo Platform with MSN Tools

I like some of the cool MSN lab tools that I touched on in this article. I also like MSN’s demographic targeting capabilities and the option to laser focus keywords, ad copy (on landing pages and in ad copy) and destination URLs with “parameters”. There’s lots of neat innovation in the MSN camp that would certainly benefit the Yahoo! platform.

With Yahoo!, one of the downsides would be capacity. Recently, there were a couple of Y!SM platform issues with content advertising. At one point, if you made changes to the content side of your account or if you were trying to set up a new content campaign there were delays in getting ads online. The issue seems to have been fixed now but, on Tuesday, a Yahoo! rep said that it may take up to two weeks for the issue to be resolved. With additional volume, issues like these can have huge repercussions on advertisers' campaigns. Such considerations will need to be carefully considered.

2) MSN Platform

In my experience, conversion figures in MSN are good. One reason could have to do with the limited use of broad matching in MSN AdCenter. This obviously means that a search for “red stilettos” in fact leads to results for specifically for “red stilettos” and not all sorts of other variations that could result from broad match features on the Yahoo! platform.

I’m thinking with Microsoft’s technological know-how and deep-pockets, they’d be able to whip their platform into shape to accommodate a merger.

Branding is another interesting question. Which brand will they go with? I’d vote Yahoo! given their reputation in the online advertising space.

Could there be other offers in the wings for Yahoo (AOL, IAC or maybe even Google)? I guess we’ll have to wait and see… I sure can’t wait to see how this one plays out.

Posted by Mona Elesseily




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