B2B Articles - Jun 17, 2012 8:13:19 PM

Search becomes more vertically integrated

bing logo - search engine company by microsoftYelp and Bing sign a deal to connect Bing users to Yelp local business content on Bing Local search pages. The deal will ultimately result in a new "Powered by Yelp" experience, as Bing struggles to find an edge against the search giant Google. Certainly, both Bing and Yelp may have felt pressure to push a content deal through following the acquisition of Zagats by Google recently.

Search is becoming more vertically integrated, and these deals simply show how alliances between content providers and websites with search companies may gain favor in the future. Bing has integrated recipe results that pull in data from popular recipe websites. Such content is displayed when users search explicitly for such content types, like 'Recipes for salmon.' Another example of verticle integration is the partnership between Encyclopaedia Britannica and Bing.

Search engines have long thrived by their ability to accurately match search results with perceived search intent. There is an inherent risk in such deal-making, as content partners are woven into the fabric of search result pages. Search engines need caution with whom they partner, as the partners themselves begin to be part of the search brand--whether Bing or Google.

For many small businesses, Yelp represents a bully in ratings and local business review, as it favors negative reviews over positive. Many business owners have reported to us that they felt forced to grapple with promoted negativity by paying the company off. This perception of Yelp, which has long surfaced among business owners can complicate the Bing brand. For example. as new options arrive in the market to replace sites like Yelp, Bing needs to be careful not to tie it's affiliation too close or favor certain content too great.

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