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The web is young, it’s been public for only 20 years. Due to the business opportunities it’s created (solid user base) it’s a breeding ground for innovations to reach those users in a more effective fashion. Those innovations (browsers, search, and soon mobile phone/computers) have made business profitable and changed the dynamics of the way business is done. The innovations have cultivated an environment on the web called permission-based marketing or others call it inbound marketing (we do). To many companies, this is an unfamiliar topic but those two terms give you a glimpse to the kind of environment I’m talking about. The customer is drowning in information, reading about 12,000 pages each year, and I’m fairly confident with the growth of the web, that number could double by now. With that foundational concept, companies know that people are looking for something but don’t like interruption and the web has evolved based on the desires of the users.

What does this have to do with Bing and Yahoo? Everything. To those that are outside of the search industry, you need some context to the situation, so I hope the background helped to clarify what I’m about to say, before I candidly say exactly what the title says.

the vast galaxy universe 150x150 Bye Bye Yahoo! Hello Bing   Why Yahoo will die in 5 yearsTo clarify the history of the web: Netscape (web browser, now Firefox) opened the window to the web. AltaVista showed us the web was much bigger than we first imagined (window? try we entered a new galaxy). Then Yahoo became the catalyst to some of the rapid innovation of the web because it created some organization to finding things in this new galaxy. Then came Google where our desires are only a few keywords away (and we are still in Google-era).

Some say it wasn’t until Google that “search actually worked” but I’d say it just got better. In the past, Altavista produced a correct result 30% of the time, Yahoo was about 50%, but Google took the cake with 70-90% depending on who you asked. (Now, these percentages are my personal opinion and I have no data/case studies to support my claims but I’m sure many who have used each search engine over the past 15 years, would say “Yea, search was bad but now it has become very effective.”)

So, let me break it down for you, why I believe Bing will become the #2 search engine and Yahoo will fade away into the past, in 5 years:

1. Yahoo has thrown away it’s goal for regaining it’s search market share

Yahoo is no longer a search engine, it wants to be a massive affiliate/directory/content provider, in other words, it’s out of the search business. Yahoo’s mission is to maintain and grow it’s content reach. Yahoo wants to continue to be a vertical or the place where people go. It’s desire is to no longer be the platform which people search for information. Poor move for Yahoo but that’s the new CEO’s new direction.

2. CPA is the wave of the future of revenue and Yahoo has made no steps to be apart of it

We (Exit9) believe that CPA going to be the next wave of the internet. A model (pay-per-performance) that looks out for it’s advertisers and not just itself. Old media is dying because it’s ineffective and difficult to track. New media is here to stay and it’s next step in evolution is CPA.

3. Bing is making a solid brand for itself

One of the leaders, in the SEO Community, says that Bing can’t buy search but I think it can. Simply because Apple did it. Apple developed something nice and slick and told people that it’s cool. Marketing works. You just have to have a good story to tell.

4. Bing is listening to it’s users and modifying it’s tactics to win people over

Their Twitter accounts are deeply involved in the conversation about their service. I ranted on Twitter about how their ad platform sucked, about 4-5 tweets and Betsy replied back within moments of my outrage. bing on twitter adcenter Bye Bye Yahoo! Hello Bing   Why Yahoo will die in 5 years

Another example of Microsoft (Bing) is listening is it’s new feature to show Twitter information within the search results. As techcrunch put it, “[They] keep their foot on the gas.”

Summary: Yahoo threw in the towel. They aren’t innovating ways to add revenue via their search engine. Google is working on book deals with publishers, Bing bought Jellyfish, Yahoo is nowhere to be seen in the CPA world of search marketing. I gave the 5 year timeline because the nature of the web seems to shift every 5 years in one aspect or another. The only way Yahoo could redeem itself is if it actually brings search back into their mission statement but it might already be too late for that. Twitter is emerging and Facebook is slowly learning how to advertise, the Internet is shifting again and we’ll probably look back 5 years from now and ask why we ever paid per click or where did Yahoo go, it stayed in the content industry but left the search market. #badabing ;-)