I worked at Yahoo for five years.
And for five years I used Google.
Giving a presentation about our contextual advertising to a group that included our SVP, he mad a remark about my Firefox still being set to Google. I played it off, saying I didn’t use it and quickly showed how I had a ‘y’ keyword mapped to search on Yahoo.
A half-truth. True, I didn’t use the searchbox in the browser. But also true that I also had ‘g’ mapped to google (and used that 98% of the time).
Judging by my peers, fellow Yahoo engineers, I was far from alone.
When Yahoo Search Marketing was re-organized so that it fell closer to Yahoo! Search, I started to hear more about Search. How based on some studies we did well. Really well, in fact.
Knowing the individuals and the context, there wasn’t a heck of lot of motivation for lying. So I started using Yahoo Search for a bit and I found these two seeming contradicting statements:
1) The algorithm for Yahoo Search is really good.
2) It’s hard finding what you want with Yahoo Search.
What do I mean? Well, the search engine works, just you don’t see the results.
For instance, take a look at this page, an example from the Yahoo Search Marketing site showing advertisers where their ads appear:
So, imagine for a second that your search worked. The results you wanted for ‘Quigibo’ are right there. What do you see?
Here’s the stuff I care about:
It’s that teeny little bit down in the corner.
Your results are buried in the page. You see one, maybe one and half results.
So when you do a search, does it work? Yes.
Do you see it? No.
Which is why it was exciting to see Yahoo’s new alpha:
Simple, clean, elegant.
I even like that I can collapse sponsored results.
It’s not that I have anything against, in fact, for commericial queries, they can be darn useful, it’s just I want control. If I’m searching for Perl’s
tie operator, odds are ads are just a waste of space.
It’s still a bit early, but it looks like Yahoo might be getting it’s mojo back.