December 21, 2005
By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about Google owning a stake in AOL. MSN came close to stealing that relationship away from them until they swooped in out of nowhere at the last minute and pulled it off. How the heck did they pull it off? Check out this snippet from a NY Times article:
“Google, which prides itself on the purity of its search results, agreed to give favored placement to content from AOL throughout its site, something it has never done before.”
AOL is one of their biggest traffic providers and, given the fact they own such properties as Mapquest and DCI, they would also be a large source of local traffic. Additionally, since many of their users are subscribers, they have billing addresses associated with those users and could therefore target them locally as well. (Don’t forget the reason why they are focusing on local search).
Another interesting bit of info:
Graphical ads appear to be in the works for Google’s search results pages, though traditional banners might not show up except in Google Image Search and Froogle shopping search. The Google home page would remain without graphics. From earlier reports, it sounds like AOL will get some of graphical space to help promote its own sites plus have the ability to resell graphical ads on Google.
Well, at least those image ads will no longer be on the homepage.
Well, they pulled it off but at what cost? I suppose implemented properly, some of these will turn out to be big wins for both sides (i.e. a better product by providing immediate “smart answers” from AOL content and a shared platform for IM to increase the user base for both systems).
Google has also spent time picking on the little guys if you believe that story. While I know there is usually 3 sides to every story and I’m sure there is more to the story….and, quite honestly, they shouldn’t have built their search engine to depend on one search engines, results…that implies a dependence on their algorithm rather than just their index or data.