Saturday, August 30, 2008

Microsoft Says Ciao to Online Shopping Search


Microsoft Says Ciao to Online Shopping Search
August 30, 2008

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Microsoft Says Ciao to Online Shopping Search
Chris Crum | Staff Writer

Buys Greenfield Online for Nearly Half a Billion

Microsoft is looking to boost its online shopping search market
share. The company has announced an acquisition of Greenfield
Online, owners of popular shopping search site

This is the largest purchase Microsoft has made in a while. T
he company appears to be playing around with the money it had
left from the Yahoo deal falling through. They dropped 486 million
big ones on this one.

According to ComScore, Ciao has over 26.5 million unique visitors
per month, and the site features over 5 million product reviews.
Still, there is some question as to why Microsoft would spend such
a large amount of money on such a purchase. MG Siegler at
Venture Beat writes:

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Microsoft's play here is apparently to become more ingrained in
European consumer search and online habits. Going after more
shopping traffic seems questionable considering the laughable
move it made back in May to pay users to use its Live search engine
to look for purchases to make. Given that Microsoft's search share
once again fell last month, it appears that strategy failed, as we
thought it would.

Greenfield is not all about shopping search. It is well known for
online surveys, but Microsoft is apparently not interested in this
division of the company. Microsoft will sell it to an already
existent, but unspecified buyer, according to

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Microsoft says Ciao's technology platform, online community, and
extensive merchant relationships will be integrated within the Live
Search platform to deliver a "richer, more rewarding" experience
for advertisers and consumers. Microsoft also says its search has
three objectives:

- Deliver the best results

- Simplify key tasks

- Innovate in the business model
(or simplify how consumers research and purchase online)

"Work is ongoing to ensure that Live Search delivers across all
these categories, building on recent progress including the
acquisition of Multimap and the decision to open a European Search
Technology Centre this financial year," says Microsoft.

Will any of this have a significant effect on Microsoft's search
market share? That remains to be seen, but the general feeling
is a skeptical one.

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Google's New Blogger Features
Chris Crum | Staff Writer

Google's Blogger is unleashing some new features to make blogs using
the platform more social. They will be rolling out these features
over the next several weeks.

They want bloggers to be able to view the people that read their
blogs, and will provide a gadget allowing users to display those
people on the actual blogs. The way they are accomplishing this is
through a "Follow this Blog" link that will appear on all Blogger
blogs. Who is following whom will then be shown on the Blogger
dashboard and in Google Reader, for those who use it.

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Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read Write Web chalks up what Blogger is
doing as Google's attempt to push RSS into the mainstream:

For all its supposed simplicity, Really Simple Syndication or RSS
has continued to confuse and intimidate millions of people online
years after its introduction...

"Follow this blog" is a clear call to action and those words will
soon grace the header of every blog on around the web.
When users click that link they'll be taken to either a tab on
their Blogger dashboard, presumably if they have an account and
are logged in, or be introduced to Google Reader, the company's
RSS reader. It's a simple, brilliant plan and we wonder what
took so long.

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Kirkpatrick is probably right in that the mainstream public is
still confused about RSS. The reason I agree with this is because
out of all of the people I know that don't work on the Internet,
none of them use it. Many of them do have gmail accounts, however,
and could get sucked into the world of RSS without even realizing
it with what Google is doing.

"Follow this blog" has a kind of Twitter sound to it, which could
appeal to the social mindset. Blogger will also be integrating
Google Friend Connect into the mix as to further increase the
social aspects of blogs. Movable Type also announced new social
features recently.

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