Reopening the Search Insider Mailbag

We still have a couple more weeks of summer, but Labor Day is the government's way of making us get down to business a bit earlier than the seasons dictate. It's a good time to clean out the in-box and dig into the Search Insider mailbag to answer questions from you, the reader.

Q: Why does Eric Schmidt have a Yahoo! e-mail address listed on his Web site? -- Scott Raskiewicz, Calif.

A: Excellent question, Scott. He wasn't responding to Yahoo! instant messages on the subject. Thanks for sending the link to

Q: Will Yahoo! take a credibility or revenue hit from its recent paid search delivery glitches? -- Andrew Marcus, Calif.

A: If you're already asking, "What delivery glitches?" I suspect you're in the majority. Reliability of paid search networks is something that's taken for granted. The search engines make it look so easy. Alas, there is this thing involved that Ali G refers to as "techmology," and techmology never works 100 percent of the time, as close as it might get in some circumstances.



Every form of online advertising has had to deal with deliverability issues at one time or another, and I think the track record of Yahoo! and its rivals will soften any bad feelings. Meanwhile, the fact that Yahoo! was so slow to respond both to advertisers and to the press indicates just how inexperienced it is in dealing with search marketing glitches. Final thought on this: Those search ads are still, by and large, making its advertisers a ton of money and that should ease the pain.

Q: What's up with Google selling print ads? Will they stop at nothing? -- Lisa Levy, Ohio

Lisa, you may be right. Just look at this quote printed in "America's finest news source":

"'Book burning is just the beginning,' said Google co-founder Larry Page. 'This fall, we'll unveil Google Sound, which will record and index all the noise on Earth. Is your baby sleeping soundly? Does your high-school sweetheart still talk about you? Google will have the answers.'"

Then again, "America's finest news source" is The Onion.

Q: You managed to totally sidestep my question. Really, what's up with Google? - Lisa Levy, Ohio

It's interesting that its mission of "organizing all the world's information" has turned into "sell ads for all the world's information." I think the bigger surprise here is not that Google's selling ads in other media, but that it's doing it in print before TV. Everyone can't wait for Google to get in the TV game. Selling print ads just opens more eyes to what it could do. How long before we see Google ads running alongside interactive programming guides? Oh, and Google's in the image ad business too. Take the small steps: banner ads to animated rich media ads, animation to video, video online to video on TV, on cell phones, and on-demand.

Q: I want to go back to that Onion article. Was that the funniest search engine satire you've seen in a long time? - Chase Utley, Pa.

A: Yes.

Q: I've got a great idea. What if there was a vertical search engine for satire? - Michael "Scope" Legatt, N.Y.

A: It's already been done. In conducting research for this article (yes, this involved real research), I came across, a UK-based site that launched in 2002, thus making it one of the older vertical search ideas out there. Back to the drawing board, Scope.

Q: If you were Google, you had access to $4 billion in cash, and you were taking on Microsoft on their home turf, what would you do? - Gord Hotchkiss, Canada

A: Gord, I look forward to what answers you come up with in the Thursday edition.

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