2005-10-21 22:25 in /tech/search
I had lunch today with a couple former co-workers. It’s a little funny how many people who used to work for Overture are now working in the SEO/SEM biz. Personally, I plan to get completely away from advertising when I do decide to move on. At any rate, it’s interesting to hear some perspectives from the other side of the checkbooks. One thing that came up was that they really dislike the short title and description limits on Google because it takes a lot more effort to write them. Also, people click on short ads more often, but don’t convert as frequently (because the ads don’t contain as much information for readers to use to decide relevance). From the advertiser point of view, this is a negative, since they’re getting less well-qualified traffic.
Over on the publisher side of things, there’s been a lot of people mentioning that YPN has lower CTR, but higher PPC than Google, and that the net revenue is about the same or slightly higher. There are probably a number of factors behind that. (I suspect that we have somewhat different ad selection strategies, for example.) But, part of it may be due to the difference in creative lengths. Assuming the market is reasonably efficient, if shorter ads on AdSense result in users making more clicks but no more purchases, than advertisers ought to respond by lowering their bids. If conversions stay constant, then we expect the total advertiser spending, and publisher revenue, to balance out as observed. If we refine the analysis a little further, we would actually expect revenues on Google to be somewhat lower as advertisers should demand a risk discount for less predictable user referrals. However, one should take that with a grain of salt, since there are other differences present as well, and I’m not sure if I actually believe that most advertisers are quite that rigorously economically rational.
2005-09-26 23:34 in /tech/search
After claiming both that size doesn’t matter and that our search team was “exaggerating”, Google now brags that theirs is bigger.
Note that they say they can prove it, but decline to actually do it, inviting people to “prove it themselves”. Also, while they say that it’s unique pages that really matter, they tell people to include omitted results in their test. Well, okay, I’ll play along with their pepsi challenge. Let’s search on my name on both, and scan down as far as we can.
- Google, duplicates omitted — 125 results
- Yahoo, duplicates omitted — 202 results
- Google, duplicates included — 986 results
- Yahoo, duplicates included — over 1000 results
Of course, for those who care about relevance, Google doesn’t turn up my home page until result 4, and that’s the only result from my site on the front page. Yahoo puts my blog in result 1 and also includes my resume and home page on the top ten.
2004-11-24 11:19 in /tech/search
It looks like the issue of inline advertising in RSS feeds is getting a lot of attention lately, with posts from Jeremy and John Battelle. I’m sort of surprised that Jeremy seems so hesitant about the concept. Personally, I’m really excited at the prospect of us getting into this area. But then, I work for the money-making part of the company so I’m used to viewing the web in a more commercial way than most. I also find the technical challenges of the problem really interesting.
There are some things I worry about, though. The main one is how various aggregators will react to this. I can imagine that some aggregators without another revenue model might want to put contextual advertising of their own beside feed content. The risk here is that the total quantity of advertising does go over some line and people rebel. Another thing that might happen is that aggregators might try to block ad content in feeds. Particularly if this is combined with them adding their own ads, I could see this leading to some nasty legal fights.
2004-10-03 12:23 in /tech/search
2004-09-08 14:30 in /tech/search
I just read John Battelle note about Geico’s lawsuits and thought about the supermarket. Most supermarkets hand you a couple of coupons along with your receipt. If you look at them, you quickly realize that most of the time they are coupons for a competing product to one of the items you just purchased. I wonder how this works. Do supermarket advertisers “bid”, as it were, on specific competing products or just on categories? Is this a relevant parallel situation to Google and Yahoo?
(This seems like a good time to point out that I work for Overture/Yahoo, but that nothing I say here in any way represents the opinions of my employers.)
2004-05-20 22:00 in /tech/search
Can I just point out how incredibly lame it is that this is the top hit for my name on Google?
2004-02-25 23:40 in /tech/search
A moment ago, while trying to find the link to this amusing video, I went to search on "really good". Google was not at all helpful, while http://search.yahoo.com happily displayed as result #3, RatherGood.com. Now, if that isn't the search nirvana of finding exactly what you meant, I don't know what is.