MSN BETA GOES LIVE
Russ Cabe, Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc.
This month, MSN officially broke into the organic search game as they announced that their previously beta test search engine was going live and would now be the source of all of their organic search results. This much anticipated move announces MSN’s intention to join Yahoo and Google as a major provider of organic search results. Although it has been a long time coming, as MSN has been working toward this for well over a year, the swiftness with which they moved the search out of beta test mode and into live mode speaks very well of the results they were getting; to go live so quickly, we suspect their user studies must have come back with favorable results. It is also impressive that during just two weeks at the end of January, they went from testing the new results live to providing 100% of their own results without any substantial glitches or hiccups. It would appear that they really did their home work. Visit http://search.msn.com/ to use MSN’s search engine.
Here is how we at Blizzard see the change, so far. We are happy to report that, in general, our promotion clients are performing very well in the new MSN, and our techniques are translating very well into it. We are also excited about what this means for the big picture. For too long, there has not been enough competition at the top of the search food chain. We either had Google supplying Yahoo’s results, or Yahoo supplying MSN’s results, and really that always just meant there were two big players. Now we have three big players on fairly equal footing, with a couple more (AskJeeves and A9) trying to break in. This is good news for marketing your property or business on the internet. The more diversity and competition there is at the top, the more diversity there is in your traffic resources, and the less you have all of your eggs in one basket. We are interested to see if the rumors of MSN building its own pay-per-click resource also come to fruition at some point in the future. If it does, it means we will have three major search engines all with their own organic and paid results. We think that one of the best side effects to come out of this is a healthy incentive for Google and Yahoo to continue to improve their products; this incentive did not exist before. We will be watching them all closely in the coming months.