The Yahoo! / Microsoft Search Alliance

Aug 25, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Yesterday, Yahoo! Sr. VP Search Products, Shashi Seth, posted a note on Yahoo!’s search blog about the Yahoo!-Microsoft search alliance that’s been in the works:

“Yahoo! Web, Image, and Video search experiences on both desktop and mobile devices are now powered by the Microsoft platform in the US and Canada (English), with more markets to come. The speed in which this was completed is a testament to the great work and partnership between a number of Yahoo! and Microsoft employees, the ranks of which are numerous.  I’d like to express my sincere appreciation for each person who contributed to this great accomplishment.

“With this week’s milestone behind us, Yahoo! will continue to drive technology innovation in the search experience to bring more value to users and advertisers alike. We are focused on creating rich, immersive experiences that foster serendipitous discovery for people across the Yahoo! network.  As we shared last week, we are also working hard on finalizing our revenue model for the Yahoo! Search BOSS program going forward, and will be offering other search-related tools for publishers in the months to come.”

Back in July of this year, Yahoo! began some limited testing of organic and paid search listings from Microsoft for up to 25% of Yahoo! Search traffic in the U.S. The goal was to have desktop and mobile search powered by Bing before October. But this all started long before this summer. Yahoo! and Microsoft began this search partnership deal last July – here are the details of this agreement:

  • Microsoft’s Bing will now be the search engine on all Yahoo! sites.
  • Yahoo! will provide the relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business.
  • Self-serve advertising for both companies will go through Microsoft’s AdCenter platform.
  • Microsoft will compensate Yahoo! through a revenue sharing agreement on traffic generated on Yahoo’s network.
  • The term of the agreement is 10 years.

(thanks to Mashable for summarizing the bullets)

The most relevant point of this agreement for us, of course, is the first point – Bing algorithms will now power the Yahoo! US and mobile search engines. As Irina Shamaeva smartly pointed out, “…more and more users will see exactly the same results from a Yahoo! search as they would see by searching on Bing. This is happening in the US. If you are one of those users – your Yahoo! search, in fact, does this: picks your search string, sends it to Bing, gets back the resulting pages, [and then] shows to you.” Shamaeva also points out that search syntax that was unique to Yahoo! now no longer works when searching in the US as it defaults to Bing’s syntax instead. (good catch, Irina!) Right now, this only affects US and mobile search.

It will be interesting to see how this affects Google, if indeed it does at all. According to comScore Inc., Microsoft and Yahoo! combined hold a 28% share of the U.S. search market, still far behind Google’s 66%.

Stay tuned for more information…

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.