Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nichey Nichey, Bing Bing

Savvy readers will recall that Google itself explored ways to work with Yahoo! some 10 years back. With the recent partnering of Bing and Yahoo!, is Microsoft taking a cue from Google's own playbook in a bid to leapfrog Larry Page and Sergey Brin's brainchild to become king of the search engine marketplace? Or are the designs humbler, saner?

The answers are unclear. But let's look at where search is today, now that the two search engines whose names aren't Google have joined forces.

News this week indicates that even search engine users Bing and Yahoo! may call their own use Google more, according to research from comScore. This amounts to as much as three-fifths of the time. Clearly, then, any upstart that wishes to become a long-term force in search has an uphill battle ahead. This, we know. It's cliche, and everyone says so. But what will that battle entail? What are they fighting for? A niche is what I say. The real mission for Bing-Yahoo! is that they must identify and target a niche of search engine users to wine and dine over time. And it might not even take that much time.

At first blush, this isn't exactly flattering for their alliance, but a huge opportunity may be at hand. Does niche mean small, for instance? Not necessarily -- stay tuned for more blog entries about this.