Monetizing Search Results

Knowledgeable researchers always use at least two search engines for any important query. That usually means Google and either Yahoo! or MSN Search or perhaps A9. Since I use so many Yahoo! tools, I sometimes search Yahoo! first, and am surprised at how often it disappoints.

For example, this morning I looked up Ajax13, which I’d seen mentioned last night in a BusinessWeek article that talks about MS Office alternatives. Yahoo!’s first result was not relevant; the balance of the first page of results was primarily a list of blogs and news that mentioned Ajax13. However, both Google and MSN provided the relevant result — AjaxLaunch — as the first result. Google, Yahoo!, MSNAmusingly, the same situation applies when I search for this blog, Yahoo! Spectator, by name.

Some folks tell me Yahoo! disappoints because it still relies on results from its Directory (remember when you had to be in it to get any action?), but I see no evidence of that. The sites submitted to the Yahoo! Directory aeons ago no longer appear when I search with the keywords used to index them. Others say webmasters still haven’t gotten over the days when submitting to Yahoo! was either a trial by torture or too costly. But that’s history. (For the few who don’t know, the Yahoo! submission page is here .) And some say Yahoo! is stale — doesn’t have timely results. That’s just bull. Check the cache dates.

And then there are the cognoscenti who offer up mealy-mouthed discussions about algorithms. After all, they point out, everyone knows the Googlista run rings around the Yahooligoons. Not! So what’s a gal or guy to think?

Anybody want to bet it comes down to monetization? I can’t prove it, and haven’t the time to test it thoroughly, but my gut says Yahoo! results are prioritized, in part, by how well they pay in Sunnyvale. One sure example: create a PRWEB press release and “contribute” at least $40. There’s a very good chance Yahoo! will show it in the top slot for your keywords early on the morning of its release. Google and MSN Search will get to it in a few days, depending on its relevance, and often from a secondary source, not PRWEB.

Anything wrong with monetization? No. But it’s nice to know when it’s happening!

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