Yahoo Gets Better Grades Than Google, and Content is Still King
The Internet may still very nearly spin around the axis (matrix?) of Google search, but people like Yahoo’s content and services at least a little bit better, according to a new study from the University of Michigan American Consumer Satisfaction Index.
The relaunch of Yahoo’s portal is cited as a reason why Yahoo’s customer satisfaction is on the rise, as well as its e-mail, “social networks and other features.” Meanwhile, Google’s applications and services are not as visible to the average user.
In my view, GMail is superior to Yahoo e-mail, though I’ve heard that people like improvements that have been made to the latter. In terms of social networks, I can’t believe that either Yahoo 360 or Orkut could have made much of a difference in peoples’ responses. I can definitely see the difference if Yahoo’s “web 2.0″ acquisitions such as del.icio.us, Flickr, and MyBlogLog were cited. That’s a pretty great trio of efficient, elegant, and popular web services right there.
I wonder if Google cares very much about this study. As long as it continues to own search and make zillions through its Adsense and Adwords services, they will continue to laugh all the way to the e-bank. Internet Marketing Monitor rightly notes that, “The article suggests that Googleâ€™s relatively unchanged interface and dismal marketing of its non-search services give users the impression that little has changed at the site. Those of us who look beyond the interface realize that this is not the case. But most users donâ€™t go much deeper than the outside.”
That said, Yahoo has smartly improved in areas that it needed to â€“ recognizing Google’s dominance in search â€“ and it’s paying off. Another four-year study, produced by Nielsen/NetRatings, proves the old Internet axiom that content is still king.
According to the study, people are consuming online content like never before, watching videos and reading news and entertainment content, “surpassing activities such as sending e-mails, shopping or searching for information.”
While at first glance, these seem to be fairly obvious “revelations,” they are pretty stunning when looking at the short history of the web. E-mail, for instance, is one of the first “killer apps” of the online world. It’s something that grandparents do everyday as part of their lives. People who can barely turn on a computer know how to “Google” search terms to find relevant information.
But the increase in broadband penetration, coupled with the serious and massive effort to increase the quality and quantity of online media and entertainment offerings, has fundamentally shifted the way in which people consume content overall.
People spend more time online today than they do watching television. As recently as four or five years ago, this would have seemed like a farfetched notion.
In other words, the Internet is not just a place to write to friends and family and find relevant information. It’s a place where people can immerse themselves in deep social networks, create and share media, and watch (and interact with!) videos and other forms of entertainment.
So, both surveys show that Yahoo is looking at the long run and improving in areas that reflect where people are spending increasing amounts of time.