Aug 5, 2008

Does Microsoft Have A Search Engine?

Last weekend, I took my daughter to a birthday party. As the event got started, I met the celebrant's Dad, and we started a casual "get to know you" conversation. Once he found out that I worked in the Online field - he was keen to ask me about Google.

He raved about the service and told me all about the leads he was getting from Google. Then he asked what I do, I mentioned Live Search and he had no idea what I was talking about. So I explained that Microsoft has it's own Search Engine - as does Yahoo. And that we both offer a similar offering to Google.

I then proceeded to explain that when MSN users initiate Searches, the results featured are actually served by our very own Search Engine - called Live Search.

He's response was instructive. "Why don't you guys just tell us about your Search Engine - that way I'll know that I can go to Google or whatever your engine is called - for my Search Results".
It's also worth noting that this individual knew nothing about adCentre - even though he leaves in the Seattle area and has been an active user of Google adwords for some time.

He mentioned that he goes to MSN to be entertained and informed. He probably uses our communication tools (hotmail & messenger), as well.

This isn't new - we all know that both Microsoft and Yahoo could do a better job of actively promoting their Search Engines. But that's becoming increasingly difficult because both MSN and Yahoo are known as general interest portals - not destination search engines.

3 Key Customer Segments
Users - like my host, who are oblivious to most search engines and simply associate Search with Google, similar to the way hotmail and Messenger are often associated with MSN or Yahoo.

Customers: Who leverage monetization platforms to drive users to their sites - by buying keyword placements

Influencers/SEO Community: Individuals & Corporations who influence the online habits of both Users & Customers, albeit in different ways.

At core, the Search Engine must deliver very good results and have a reliable platform to monetize those results - not just in the US, but Globally. Only Google does this today - only Google consistently delivers strong ROI to each of the customer groups outlined above - on a Global Scale.

That's the enormity of the task facing both MSFT and Yahoo and for that matter - Mahalo, Cuil, Ask and the other niche engines. I have yet to see a Google TV, Radio or Newspaper ad - So this is not all about Marketing & P.R campaigns, although that certainly helps.

So, after listening to my host rave about the leads he gets through Google - I politely mentioned that Live Search is a great engine and we have a great monetization platform in adCentre. Hopefully, he'll take the time to check out our Search offering, and see for himself.....

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