theEweekly Wrap: Acquisition, AdWords and app developers
|Yahoo déjà vu||Microsoft is considering making a bid to take over Yahoo, ‘sources close to the situation’ have told Reuters. It comes three years after Microsoft unsuccessfully offered $44.6bn (£29bn) for the search company in 2008, although Yahoo’s fortunes have taken something of a downturn since then. The company was valued by the BBC at just $20bn (£13bn), although rumours of a takeover briefly sent stock soaring by 10 per cent. Another name linked with a potential takeover include Chinese internet giant Alibaba, which acquired the China Yahoo portal in 2005.
Although Microsoft’s 2008 bid was rebuffed, a second attempt may be more successful after something of a thaw in relations between the two companies. In July 2009 a Search Alliance was announced between Yahoo and Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. This led to Yahoo displaying Bing search results in August this year, and advising site owners to switch to Bing Webmaster Tools. The company’s own popular Site Explorer tool is set to be decommissioned, while CEO Carol Bartz was fired in September 2011. If the buyout were to go ahead, Microsoft would have a total of 28 per cent of the US search market, and 6 per cent of UK search engine market share.
|The Promised Landing page||Google has made changes to the AdWords system to improve the quality of PPC ads for consumers. In an official blog post on Monday, the search giant revealed some tweaks had been made to the Quality Score algorithm – used in conjunction with bid amount to determine how PPC ads are ranked on Google. More weight has been given to landing page quality and ad relevance, something that has been high on Google’s agenda for a long time; it ties in with the recent Panda algorithm updates to improve the quality and relevance of natural search results.
Google advised that “campaigns with better-performing ads for user queries will continue to see higher Quality Scores, lower average cost per click and higher position on results pages”, suggesting PPC professionals should be taking note of the changes. However, PPC landing page optimisation is nothing new; as Search Engine Land explained, in the past the worst offenders faced their ads being rejected or their accounts suspended, not to mention a low conversion rate. The new algorithm is already live in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, and is due to roll out for the rest of the world “over the coming weeks”.
|Arrested development||Gaming industry trade association Tiga has published a report this week detailing the problems facing the UK game industry. One of the most serious, the report concludes, is the number of game developers leaving the UK to work overseas, with 18 per cent of UK companies reporting incidents of losing their key talent. To remedy this, Tiga suggests tax subsidies and benefits similar to those given to studios in Canada, France and the USA. In Canada, this support can be equivalent to 23 per cent of the company’s annual turnover.
Meanwhile, the report also found that the PC or games console is no longer the developer’s medium of choice; building Facebook or smartphone apps is now all the rage. The lower cost of developing apps, as well as the ease of self-publishing, were cited as reasons for the shift.
Tiga CEO Dr Richard Wilson commented: “The UK games development sector is creative, innovative, and talented. The potential for rapid growth exists. It’s time for UK policy makers to support the UK games development sector through a tax break for games production, enhanced R&D Tax Credits and a Creative Content Fund.”