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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Is Microsoft Selling Its Search Soul or Improving Experience?

Posted by @ 6:21 pm
I was reading a Search Engine Roundtable post this morning about MSN UK pre-populating its search box with “The Apprentice BBC”, and it got me thinking – what ends will search engines go to, to generate revenue.

The battle for search engine supremacy is more than just having the most web pages indexed or carrying the most search traffic. Let’s face it – search engines are a business. As a marketing manager myself, I understanding the pressures to generate revenue and profit, but when they start selling space in the search box – I believe the line of trust has been crossed.

Anyway, I decided to check the mis-use for myself and found that MSN UK was now displaying “Euro 2008 results” in its search box. Then it dawned on me that they might actually be displaying popular searches rather than sponsored keywords. So Danny, if you haven’t heard back from Microsoft or the BBC, I think you’ll find it’s MSN doing some UI testing rather than revenue generation.

I hope I am right in giving MSN the benefit of the doubt on this, and let’s just hope that the holy grail – “The Search Box” remains advertising free! The question remains whether pre-populating the search box with popular searches is a good user experience – but that’s a whole other post altogether ;)

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

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