Tag Archives: yahoo

Microsoft, Yahoo Deal Would Strengthen Google

I’m getting might pissed off with all this talk about some “deal” between Microsoft and Yahoo now. I don’t see how Microsoft forking out $15 billion for Yahoo’s search business would have any impact on Google‘s share.

Sure, on paper, Yahoo’s share would drop to 0% and Microsoft would jump from 8.5% to 29%, but Google’s share would still sit at 63.1%. (Based on comScore’s latest figures.)

Today, a large Yahoo shareholder, Ivory Investment Management urged the company to sell to Microsoft to maximise shareholder value.

How exactly does “maximising shareholder value” increase either Yahoo’s or Microsoft’s chances of stealing market share from Google and actually making a difference in search?

Come on folks, instead of wasting Yahoo’s time and money on lining shareholder’s pockets, how about giving two shits about making the product worth using. Isn’t that what makes Google better than Yahoo and Microsoft? Isn’t that why you’re lagging behind? Come on, it’s not rocket science.

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Yahoo!’s Delicious Fails at Usability

Not completely, but enough for me to blog about it.

When making changes to your site infrastructure or architecture, it’s important to consider links coming into your site.

For example, I may want to change the URL structure for my blog posts, to include the year and month in which they were posted. This post’s URL would change to;
http://philipjohn.blog/blog/2008/10/yahoos-delicious-fails-at-usability

I would need to consider that there may be some links to this post would be broken. In order to ensure my visitors (or, rather, potential visitors) have a smooth user experience I create appropriate redirects. For example, my .htaccess might include this line:
RewriteRule ^blog/yahoos-delicious-fails-at-usability$ /blog/2008/10/yahoos-delicious-fails-at-usability [R=301]

This would create a permanent redirect from the ‘old’ URL to the ‘new’ URL without the visitor noticing a thing. It really is that simple, too.

So why is it that one of the foremost web companies can’t do that? I was looking for the Delicious bookmarklet today, so I searched Google:
Screenshot

That looked good, so I clicked on it. Here’s the page that Yahoo took me to:
Screenshot of the Delicious help page

Hmm… no bookmarklets. Oh, but there’s a link to bookmarklets. TWO clicks later I got to the right page:
Screenshot of the Delicious bookmarlets page

That’s one search and three clicks which should have been one search and ONE click. -10 usability points for Yahoo. Sort it out, guys!

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Ladies and Gentleman; Yahoo! Web Analytics

Yahoo! Web Analytics

We probably all knew this was coming since Yahoo! purchased IndexTools, but now it’s official. Yahoo has launched Yahoo! Web Analytics.

I’ve been using IndexTools for what must be five years now. Before that, I was all about WebTrends as well as a short stint with Urchin. Having explored a variety of other tools I have to say I still prefer IndexTools.

I use Google Analytics on my own site as a sort of comparison between that and IndexTools (sorry Y! Web Analytics) but I have to say I’m seriously considering making the move now. Yahoo! Web Analytics is just better. There are far more useful reports, far more useful features (such as segmentation), better conversion tracking, campaign tracking and you can drill down ’till you’re blue in the face.

For those of you thinking of taking a look I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait a little while. It looks like Yahoo! have closed the service off to new customers. Maybe I won’t be making the switch, after all! Bummer.

Yahoo is encouraging unethical practices in web development

A big part of my ethical web philosophy is that site owners should build their sites with the visitors best interests at the forefront.

For years it has been shown that surfers use the address bar to get their bearings and so clean, simple URLs are a must.

Search engines have always had difficulty with long, complicated, dynamic URLs and have encouraged site owners to keep them to an absolute minimum. With the technology available now it is entirely feasible to completely rid any site of these ugly URLs, improving the usability and search engine effectiveness.

So, in my mind, it’s irresponsible of Yahoo to provide web masters with an excuse to NOT clean up their URLs. This is what they did with ‘Dynamic URL Rewriting’.

They gave web masters a way to tell Yahoo to ignore certain query string parameters in their URLs. This is very useful for webmasters – especially where their sites use session IDs and the like.

However, it helps them to be lazy. To disregard the need for clean, usable URLs and opt for the ‘easy option’ which translates to a lower quality of user experience.

In the case of session IDs, Yahoo should be making their algorithm clever enough to cope with such a common feature of the web, if not more so. Google certainly doesn’t provide such a feature, but that in no way puts Yahoo ahead. In fact, it puts them behind because Google already understands and accepts that sites use parameters, some of which are common and have no bearing on page content so they ignore them automatically.

So come on, Yahoo, stop encouraging bad behaviour and smarten yourselves up!

Yahoo! Search Blog: Be Dynamic, Be Confident — Yahoo! Search Supports You.

Yahoo SHOULD be promoting friendly URLs, not creating bodges like this.

Yahoo Takes on Google Analytics

Just over a month ago I received an e-mail from IndexTools to let me know, as a customer, that the company was to be acquired by Yahoo. I’ve been a consistent user of IndexTools for a good few years now, having discovered the tool whilst evaluating analytics vendors for my previous company, so it was exciting news to me.

I immediately contacted my clients to let them know that IndexTools would soon be completely free of charge! Low a behold, on Friday, another e-mail which says,

So moving forward from here and upon your acceptance of the Yahoo! Master Terms & Conditions and Program Terms the product will be provided to you free of charge.

It’s obvious (to me, at least) that this is Yahoo’s move to compete with Google Analytics. Personally, I much prefer IndexTools over Analytics but we’ll see. Yahoo does, of course, have to play catch up but IndexTools is a damn good piece of kit and with the right effort could be a serious rival.

I wonder how long it will take to be integrated into Search Marketing.

Yahoo Sucker Punches Microsoft

I had to laugh when I read the news on the BBC site this morning that Yahoo and Google have teamed up in an advertising trial. For two weeks, Google will serve 3% of Yahoo’s ads. The article doesn’t mention which ads – I’m presuming pay-per-click ads on search results.

The move is clearly intended to fend off Microsoft who have given Yahoo a time limit to accept their offer. This deal comes the day after Yahoo announced they were purchasing IndexTools, a web analytics and PPC bid management vendor I am very familiar with, having used them for five years.

Yahoo’s share price was up 7% on the Google announcement, making life that little bit harder for Microsoft. Personally, I think a merger would be a disaster. For years, both companies have been hammering away trying to compete with Google but have never caught up because of mis-directed effort. Bringing the two together, as far as I can see, would only cause upheaval and disruption for advertisers and publishers. The end result would probably be another misguided effort that doesn’t come close to tempting advertisers away from Google.