GoTo is officially dead… and then there were two

by David on May 6, 2010

I’m learning how to let go of things that I used to cherish. I loved working at GoTo.com back in the day. We knew that we were changing the world. Times have changed.

Yahoo sent an e-mail (below) out today announcing that it will be transitioning all Yahoo Sponsored Search (GoTo/Overture) advertisers to Microsoft’s adCenter. No surprise there.

Who paid for Microsoft to take over Overture?

This is the twisted part. Google paid for Microsoft’s ultimate acquisition of Overture. Well, Google and Yahoo’s shareholders.

Yahoo acquired Overture for $1.6 billion. Microsoft launched adCenter and dumped Yahoo for paid search. Yahoo settled with Google and received 2.7 million shares of Google stock. If Yahoo still holds those shares, they would be worth $1.3 billion. Now Yahoo shuts down its search engine(s) and gives them to Microsoft/Bing on an aluminum platter (I don’t think there are any precious metals left at the Yahooplex).

Between the extra $300 million, the amount that Yahoo didn’t get from probably selling the Google shares, the amount that Yahoo spent acquiring other search engines and technologies and on building its own, search was an expensive loss for Yahoo which many people wrongly considered for years before Yahoo had a search engine.

And then there were two…

Dear Advertiser,

As we shared in February, Yahoo! and Microsoft have formed a search alliance that will enable you to reach more customers with less time and effort. With the convenience of one account, you can access up to 154 million searchers, and approximately 62% more search volume than on Yahoo! alone¹.

To take advantage of these benefits, all Yahoo! Search Marketing advertisers will transition to the Microsoft Advertising adCenter platform.

Transition Timing
Our priority is to make this transition as smooth as possible for you. Here’s how we’re planning to do that:

• Protect the holiday period – We know how important the holiday selling season is to many of our advertisers. That’s why our aim is to complete this transition in the U.S. and Canada before the start of the 2010 holiday season.

• Ensure a quality transition – If at any time we feel we cannot transition with quality while protecting the holiday period, we will defer the transition until after the holidays. Should this happen, we will keep you updated.

• Provide a window of time – To give you as much flexibility as possible, we plan to provide you with a several week window, beginning in late summer, within which to initiate and complete your transition.

Transition Experience
Over the last several months, we’ve been working very closely with Microsoft to design a high quality transition experience for you. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

• Regular communication – This email kicks off a series of communications designed to help you learn about the transition. Upcoming communications will also help you get to know adCenter, the search advertising platform you’ll use to reach potential customers across the Yahoo! and Microsoft networks after the transition.

• Transition tools – To help guide you through the step-by-step process of moving your campaigns to adCenter, we’ll provide you with transition tools within your Yahoo! Search Marketing account.

Next Steps and Resources
For now, the two most important things you can do are to manage your Yahoo! Search Marketing campaigns as usual, and keep your eye out for transition-related communications. You have a number of resources available to help you stay on top of the information:

• YSM Blog – The Yahoo! Search Marketing blog will post regularly about the transition.

• Transition Center – The Yahoo! Transition Center includes articles, downloadable materials, and, coming soon, videos and tutorials about the transition and adCenter

• Emails – We’ll send you regular updates via email, so you won’t miss a thing.

• Survey – Next month, you may be asked to participate in a survey about the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance. Your feedback is important and we strongly encourage you to participate.

We are committed to making this transition as seamless and beneficial for you as possible. We appreciate your business, and look forward to bringing you the benefits of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance.

Sincerely,

Your Partners at Yahoo!

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