Can Microsoft overtake Yahoo, Google?
Microsoft (MSFT) has a chance to parlay its strengths in technology and display advertising and growing skepticism about the effectiveness of pay-per-click search advertising into long-term wins against Yahoo (YHOO) and Google (GOOG), according to the cover story in the May 19, 2008, are here. Of the three stocks, only GOOG has a bullish point and figure chart price objective. Reuters offers data on all three companies here.
Based on the BusinessWeek story and my experiences as a web surfer and pay-per-click advertiser, this is how I see the relative strengths of the three companies:
1. Resources for the technological and marketing wars: Microsoft is stronger than Google, but not much, and both are a lot stronger than Yahoo.
2. Technology that will make search and advertising work for advertisers: Microsoft beats Google beats Yahoo.
3. Pay-per-click search advertising: Google has a 75% market share and Yahoo is way ahead of Microsoft.
4. Display advertising technology and market share: Yahoo is a bit ahead of Microsoft, and both are way ahead of Google.
5. Traffic on web sites: With 500 million unique visitors a month, Yahoo is ahead of Google, which beats Microsoft.
6. Content: Yahoo beats Google beats Microsoft.
Microsoft is making a major pitch that pay-per-click advertising is way over rated, and as a former advertiser, I’d have to agree. Pay-per-click fraud is still a big problem on Google and Yahoo, I think. But will display advertising be better? I notice the ads and only click on them accidentally.
For small business advertisers, Google is still the best deal. And it’s the only place Mac owners can use their favorite computers instead of their WinTel backups.
Full disclosure: I do not have positions in any of the stocks mentioned here.
For educational purposes only. Investigate before you speculate.
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