Anyway You Search, M&A Market is Watching
NEW YORK, Feb. 6;If one word could sum up the first day of DeSilva + Phillips Media Dealmakers summit, it would have to be Google.
The search engine giant’s impact on the industry;be it search, advertising or the way publishers and media companies view themselves;dominated the discourse at the M&A conference, held here through Tuesday.
“Google is a friend,” said Mike Mathieu, chairman and CEO of All Star Directories, a Seattle-based lead-generation company serving the education market, who likened Google’s broad search coverage to being a mile wide but an inch deep. What Google’s does, he said, is “kick-out” less-savvy competitors who don’t execute deep verticals. “Yahoo Education;they are a bit player,” Mathieu said.
Each of the conference’s sessions delved into the well-trodden “Friend or Foe?” debate, prompting one attendee to characterize it as an “obsession,” but a legitimate one, he said.
On a panel entitled “Can Vertical Search Prosper in the Age of GYM (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft)?” the discussion veered to the “G.” “(The problem is) Google is a mile wide and a mile deep,” said Mitch Rouda, Hanley Wood president, e-media. Users are no longer doing simple horizontal searches, Rouda said. They “are putting in complex search terms, “turning Google into a vertical search engine.”
Colin Crawford, SVP, online at IDG, said stand alone vertical search engines will have “major challenges” in building brand equity in a user-driven market. Special interest publishers, Crawford said, must have search tools that provide a better user experience than Google.
During his luncheon keynote, AOL Media Networks president Michael Kelly outlined some of the projects coming out of his company’s partnership with Google, coyly adding that Google is “investing a billion dollars;I forgot to mention that.”