Last week Yahoo sent a letter to their search advertisers about a rather large window for when they can anticipate the integration of bing. In a post yesterday on the Yahoo blog they went a little further and said that they were currently testing the results. Here is what they said
We’ve started testing organic (also referred to as algorithmic) and paid search listings from Microsoft for up to 25 percent of Yahoo! Search traffic in the U.S. The primary change for these tests is that the listings are coming from Microsoft. However, the overall page should look the same as the Yahoo! Search you’re used to – with rich content and unique tools and features from Yahoo!. If you happen to fall into our tests, you might also notice some differences in how we’re displaying select search results due to a variety of product configurations we are testing.
Here is the screenshot of a page and the ‘changes’ that have occurred. To the untrained eye (and even the trained one) noticing this difference is well, next to impossible unless you had memorized the result set returned by Yahoo. I doubt that happens much.
Since 25% isn’t a real large number your chances of seeing this out in the wild is not so strong. Also, unless you are an advertiser or you are a previously high ranked organic site in the Yahoo results this ‘change’ won’t even be noticed. Interestingly enough, this entire change over from Yahoo to bing search is quite disruptive to the industry side of the coin while probably going completely unnoticed by the vast majority of Yahoo search users.
So now that we are on the cusp of this ‘historic moment’ how do you really view this play? Will bing being the back end of Yahoo search make a difference for those who use Yahoo as a search engine? Will regular users notice and are they even aware that this tectonic shift has happened?
From the little guys’ point of view this is a non-event as long as the search function in Yahoo is not interrupted at great length. This shift effects 13 or so out of a hundred searchers according to the latest search shares.
The real impact is to the advertisers and until they squeal this is going to be a non-issue in my book.