By EricWerner | February 17, 2010
There has been a significant amount of activity around this article citing compete.com’s research suggesting that Facebook has surpassed Google in terms of their very scientific “Directs more users to online hubs like Yahoo and MSN” metric.
The way that info was framed in these articles seems pretty fishy, “top source for traffic to major portals like Yahoo and MSN” seems mis-representative because it is stated without any reference to what the other sources are or what percentage of the traffic to these portals this represents. (my guess is that Google search has historically driven little traffic to major portals like Yahoo and MSN on purpose) It’s great headline fodder though, and that’s what drives pageviews.
Of course, if you know your current web history then you know that Microsoft owns a percentage of Facebook in a deal that gave “Microsoft control over the placement of banner ads on Facebook outside the U.S., where about 60% of Facebook’s 49 million active users reside. Microsoft had already reached agreements to sell U.S. banner ads for Facebook through 2011” So no big surprise that Facebook is sending traffic to MSN.
To be clear, I don’t mean to be a Google fanboy. My main grievance is with a bs metric that is driving all kinds of attention. “Google, which has profited handsomely from directing Web surfers to their destinations during the past decade, was third with 7 percent, just behind e-commerce site eBay, which had 7.61 percent. MySpace was fourth with just under 2 percent.” Is pretty useless without demonstrating the existence or lack of a trend, segments, or comparison.
This is coming from Compete’s director of online media and search – Compete, a “Web measurement firm”. S0 someone who is versed in web measurement knows a meaningless comparison. Alternate headline (per graph below) “Everything Interesting Happened Last Year”.
Facebook Approaching Google… Last Year
Better question: How is Compete doing?
In fairness I think the way that Buzz was rolled out is probably a good sign that Google is recognizing FB as a competitor. (It integrates with Twitter and Flickr… but not FB) Facebook’s privacy settings prevent Google from collecting information the way it does on Twitter, Flickr, Reader, and other sites. This is tremendously important distinction
There Were Also Some Great Points
“People are spending less time navigating the Internet on their own and are now navigating the Internet based on their friends’ recommendations or their friends’ activities,” said Dave Yovanno, chief executive of Gigya Inc., a Palo Alto firm that offers social-media services. “That’s one of the big trends we started picking up on probably four or five months ago.”
That might be part of the reason that Google is now ranking real time search results and showing results from your social circle in the SERPs – whether that will have any positive impact on the user experience or not is another question, but it definitely demonstrates that Google has some concerns in that area.
@dberkowitz probably makes the best point when he states the following ”But there’s always been one downside to search,” he said. “Consumers only spend about 5 percent of their time online searching and the other 95 percent of the time at the destination. Social media is quickly accounting for a large percentage of that 95 percent. Google’s biggest acquisitions, DoubleClick and YouTube, have been all about playing a big role in the rest of consumers’ Web usage.”
An Endorsement for Gigya?
So I hope I’m fair and balanced and I’m not saying that this article didn’t make some good points, but it read a little bit like a “better than paid” endorsement for Gigya, “a Palo Alto firm that offers social-media services” hopefully this will get some search traffic otherwise I might “have to consider what companies like Gigya offer – social-media optimization.” This is certainly timed right for Gigya though, and we can follow their lead by launching webinars to coincide with mentions in conventional news and leveraging the audiences of prominent thought leaders like Jeremiah Owyang
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