Is It Going To Work?

From the point of view of advertisers, this announcement is definitely A Good Thing. There are clear benefits and there seems little doubt that Google needs the competition. So in the short term we can all celebrate.

In the medium term the question is whether the new partnership will build or lose market share. Google has an enormously powerful brand that people have learned to trust. I think it is fair to say that “Bing” is not currently in the same league. Bing has made a good start since it launched, but it’s been supported by one of the biggest online marketing campaigns ever. Will users switch from Google? I don’t know. Will you?

What Does This Mean for Advertisers and Affiliates?

There are three clear benefits for advertisers that will arise from this partnership.

Perhaps the biggest is a simple result of the increased scale and reach of the combined offering. With a near-30% market share, campaigns will become easier to scale, long-tail keywords will be easier to monetize and analytics programs will have more data with which to work.

The second big advantage will follow over time as the increased volume of search data available to Microsoft permits them to improve their algorithm and provide better relevance to their users, as well as higher CTRs to advertisers.

Third, there will one less self-serve ad platform to learn, meaning that the barriers to entry for new advertisers on the Microsoft/Yahoo system will be reduced. This is not a small advantage given the numbers of new affiliates, publishers and advertisers coming into the advertising ecosystem right now.

Microsoft and Yahoo: What Does It Mean?

Microsoft and Yahoo, after a long courtship, finally got hitched and announced a 10-year deal in which Microsoft’s Bing search technology will power Yahoo’s sites. A quick summary of the deal from the perspective of an advertiser:

  • The deal combines Yahoo’s 19.6% of U.S. search traffic with Microsoft’s 8.4% to give the new partnership a 28% market share. This compares to Google’s share of 65%.
  • All self-serve advertising will be integrated into Microsoft’s AdCenter.
  • Display advertising will remain separate and will be sold by Yahoo’s worldwide sales team.
  • Microsoft gains access to Yahoo’s search indexes and technologies.

Internet Tax: Bad News in Rhode Island. Good News in Cal.

The ongoing fight against the Internet Tax took a bad turn last week when Rhode Island followed New York and signed its own version of the Internet Tax into law. As always Melanie Seery has the smartest commentary on this in which she points out that Rhode Island was being watched carefully by legislators nationwide after Arnold the Gubernator’s veto of a similar bill in California.

Rhode Island breaks the seal and with state budgets tight everywhere, this fight is going to ramp up all over again. If you are a publisher in North Carolina, Connecticut or Maryland, you may want to ensure your cashflow doesn’t just depend on Amazon and Overstock because those are the places and programs that commentators think are most vulnerable.

Google Cracks Down on AdWords Schemes

It seems as though Google has finally tired of the Google Money Tree offer and other AdWords get-rich-quick schemes and they are now telling many of the relevant advertisers that their ads will no longer be accepted.

The precise language that Google is using describes the banned ads as those that “promote a misrepresented affiliation with Google” and we assume it includes some of the deliberately misspelled ads we’ve seen that use terms such as Goolge, Goggle and Googlle

Be aware that Google is in some cases not just pulling the ads but is actually suspending advertiser accounts on a permanent basis so if you have been promoting these high-paying offers you’ll need to move fast to avoid problems.

There is a bigger picture here, which is that Google itself has been making good money off these ads for some time now, and if it were the subject of its own search algorithm, would probably have been punished in the SERPs for linking to scam sites a long time ago.

Finally, if by chance you have been using AdWords to promote your nice new startup company called Goolge, Inc., you’re really screwed.

Amazon Tax Back On The Agenda in California

The Performance Marketing Alliance led another lobbying swing through Sacramento this week, trying to dissuade cash-starved political leaders from imposing a so-called “nexus tax” on California’s affiliates. An update on the PMA’s education effort will be included in the upcoming issue of Revenue, and you can contact Karen Garcia of GTO Management if you’d like to help block the tax.