You’re all seeing the headlines: Microsoft launching search tool in ad blitz. Microsoft confirms they’ll be spending hundreds of millions of dollars. They justify this by noting that they are “countering two very big brands in the marketplace: Yahoo! and Google”.
So Google should be shaking in its shoes, Yes? Well I think not. We’re not talking here about detergent manufacturers scrambling for market share of a fixed total market. Google has almost created single-handedly the Search Market with all the attendant advertising possibilities. So Yahoo! and others were there too but they were always riding on Google’s coat-tails. So now we have radio commentators using Google as a verb to suggest how a particular topic might be explored. It’s a big burden to get to this point but Google did it.
In fact the potential market for all aspects of Search is very much bigger. Competition isn’t always about two heavyweights slugging it out and getting bloodied in the fight. Competition can be an exciting environment in which innovation spurs market growth. It’s often in a market where there are two strong competitors that you will see the most exciting market growth. All that money that Microsoft is throwing at the problem of getting name recognition and acceptance will also help to expand the audience using search by leaps and bounds. In that rapidly expanding market, Microsoft will gain its share. But, who’s to say whether Google will lose in absolute terms. It may have a slightly lower share in a very much bigger market.
The entry of MSN Search is a Win/Win situation for many other stakeholders in the Internet Marketing world. The practitioners of Search Engine Marketing have been trying to find ways to get a bigger share of the total marketing and advertizing budget. SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) was an early somewhat clumsy organization pushing that message. The mantle has now been taken on by the family of Search Marketing Associations in the UK, Europe and North America. The increased Microsoft hype will make their message ever more powerful.
The increased Search possibilities gives a bigger area to work in for all those involved in Search Optimization. This will require more talents and skills from those offering their SEO services. Certainly all those involved, from the black-hat merchants through to the white-hat supremacists, will be seeing increased opportunities.
So one and all let’s give a hearty welcome to MSN Search. The only question we all might ask is “What kept you?”