Does anybody really know what time it is…..Does anybody really care?

11 04 2013

I was going to start this with an anecdote about how I was walking down the street one day, but that was too much. I was discussing Ad:Tech in San francisco and the search industry in general with a friend of mine. One thing is and was painfully clear and that is when it comes to Yahoo / Bing (Yabing or Binghoo I can’t decide) no one really knows what is going on. With a new Captain at the wheel everyone is wondering which direction she will take on search. There have been numerous rumors and first hand accounts of shakeups, meetings and other inside conversations. Still it seems no one is exactly clear on the direction and how much influence Microsoft and Bing still have on the business.

Recently business was affected when (as the story goes) Bing decided to adjust the TQ ratings to a formula they understood better. The industry has been trying to recuperate ever since signaling that (as we all suspected) Microsoft is as mystified by how TQ’s work as everyone else. For that matter it also came across as a clear sign that quite possibly Microsoft still doesn’t understand search themselves as it relates to the outside world.

Meanwhile Google has just tried to ignore or kill the so called long – tail outright. This way is much more dubious as it does not have to deal with tier 2 or 3 and there is no direct questions about Google analytics if they are out of the picture. The answer then becomes, :It’s Google analytics, this IS your traffic”.

Which leads me back to the title. I have been at this for ten years and the only other thing I have been involved with that long that I still don’t understand is my ex wife. The search landscape has been evolving and expanding and contracting as long as I have been in it. But never has there been so much confusion as to where it is headed and what is going on than now. Ask anyone how they plan to deal with Yahoo and what their process is moving forward and you will likely hear a lot of stammering. Then add to that how to tackle big data and what to do with it, how to accurately score traffic, what actually is good traffic and where does it come from and industry people who have been around as long as me start to scatter.Do we make bold moves and forge ahead or do we tread cautiously? Is everything hinging on what Yahoo and Google do next or will advertisers finally get tier of getting jerked around and branch out? Wil we ever get metrics right and accurate or will they continue to be the big lie based on where you get them? The crystal ball is a little hazy at the moment and that has everyone standing at the sides of the gym waiting for the signal that it’s ok to dance again without making a fool of yourself.

For now choose your dance partners wisely and keep your eyes and ears on the Prom king and queen (Google and Binghoo, Larry and Marissa) for what comes next.