Should Google Buy Yahoo?

Should Google Buy Yahoo?

This is a question that has been a subject of much speculation recently, especially with Yahoo performing poorly in recent times.

In my opinion, I have to say in no uncertain terms: NO, NO and THRICE NO!

Once upon a time, Yahoo could be said to have the best search engine there was – until along came Google and not only created a better one, it did everything so well that people now “Google for things” – the word “Google” is most definitely in the modern dictionary.

Now if it was just about search engines, absorbing Yahoo into Google might not be a bad thing at all, but there is a lot more to Yahoo than just the search engine, and here is where a lot of the problems lie.

As far as search engine popularity, Google has dropped from 85% in 2009, to 83% in 2010 and 79% in 2011.  Yahoo has gone from 7% in 2009, to 6% in 2010 and risen slightly to 9% in 2011.  The main rival to both of these, Microsoft’s Bing has gone from just 3% in 2009, to 7% in 2010 and currently stands at 9% in 2011.

While this looks as if Google is losing market share and Yahoo is gaining, there are some factors behind this that ought to be considered.  Firstly, Bing is a relatively new search engine, and it’s rise in popularity has almost certainly had an effect on Google.  Secondly, the algorithm change that Google underwent early in 2011 (known as “Panda”) hit many sites hard, especially Yahoo, and some users of Yahoo in particular have moved away from using Google more as a boycott than because they prefer the functionality in Yahoo.  The extent to which this move remains firm will probably be seen by 2012, and I personally expect to see a slow move back to Google.

But aside from the search engines, Google is well known and respected for Google Maps, Google Earth, Blogger, YouTube, Google Mail and the latest offering Google Plus.

None of these products are known to have major problems across the whole Internet community.  Practically anything that Google releases works, and works all the time as well, without crashes or errors.  The name Google is synonymous with quality products.

This is sadly far from the truth when it comes to Yahoo, and it’s publishing arm, the Yahoo Contributor Network seems to exhibit more errors than most systems do during a Beta testing phase.

Since purchasing the Internet publishing company Associated Content in May 2010, the problems that writers who contribute to Yahoo publishing sites have just gone from bad to worse.

While Associated Content had it’s share of programming bugs, they were usually dealt with fairly quickly and the system was fairly reliable. 

Within months of Yahoo taking over, they replaced certain parts of the system with code that was so broken, junior programmers would be red-faced by it.

The fact that Yahoo articles do not rank well in Google since the algorithm change is just another slap in the face for Yahoo, but truth be known the slip in traffic began months before that and soon after yahoo took over the company.

Recent problems that most people in IT would consider extremely embarrassing in a live environment include (a) the wrong day of the week being displayed for statistics, and (b) links in RSS Feeds being incorrectly formatted.

The wrong day of the week only took weeks for Yahoo to fix, whereas the RSS Feed issue has been ongoing for a good 10 months and currently has no due date for it to be fixed.

With RSS Feeds being a major way in which articles are propagated across the Internet, and a source of backlinks and traffic for articles, the fact that Yahoo seems incapable to fix something which ought to help boost it’s traffic, rankings and earnings, is a little worrying.

In summary therefore, should Google, a company that is known to create software that is reliable, buy Yahoo, a company that is becoming increasingly known for it’s incapacity to achieve this?  My answer – most definitely NO!

Google would be far better creating it’s own systems that would compete with Yahoo, than to take over those which are so full of bugs as to be a corporate embarrassment.

In case you were wondering, YES I am a big fan of Google.  I have used many of their products and found few problems.  In many ways (such as built in conversions and translations in their browser) Google are one step ahead of the user, adding features that are really useful and easy to use.

I have been writing for Yahoo Contributor Network and previously for Associated Content since January 2010, and seen traffic to my articles rise dramatically until Yahoo implemented it’s first major changes, and then the slide began.

You can find my articles HERE – I doubt you will find many of them easily in Google.  You are more likely to find where I have added them to Digg or blogged about them than to find the original articles.  And as for the RSS feeds – some readers do correctly fix the links, but others don’t.

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