In case you haven’t noticed, as of May 2007 (and probably so on), Google sites have 50.7% of internet search users, Yahoo! sites have 26.4%, Microsoft sites have 10.3% (didn’t rise), Ask network had 5.1%, AOL had 5.0%.
So Google is still the top dog, Yahoo!’s 2nd. And yet again, MSN/Windows Live is 3rd. It’s been like that for years. Most people use Google just because it works. That’s all there is. Most of their search is very relevant. All the other search engines have pretty much relevant results too (although sometimes it doesn’t get it, just sometimes). It’s just that Google made it first, and they’re probaly going to stay first until someone does something groundbreaking. Other engines came, and although they did just the same as Google’s results, they just couldn’t gain the popularity that Google already started. It’s even a word, as in the verb. Google – to search the web. So unless someone does something so new, people are staying with Google. Practically no other search engine really has something that’s going to make people switch (except maybe Ask.com, but it’s unlikely). If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. That’s the rule that most people keep with Google.
So why isn’t Live Search gaining more users? I personally use Live Search. It does a great job for the most part, has a clean nice UI, and is quick. I just use it, because I think it’s somewhat better. Maybe not in search, but in the other little stuff. But why aren’t they gaining more people? I finally came to some conclusions:
- Nothing really innovative – Live results come nice and clean. And for the most part, relevant, but that’s it. It may have a great UI, clean layout, and even some great results (think Instant Answers), but that’s not enough to get people. There’s a ton of ways, that I think search results could be much better, but obviously Live Search (or any other search) isn’t thinking about them. I know some things that would truly make search a whole lot better, but no one seems to be thinking of them. So, there’s nothing too new, and nothing to great, which is why Live Search isn’t gaining as Microsoft thought it would be. Even I thought that Windows Live would win some more people. But I guess not. If they’re nothing to amaze people, nobody’s going to bother trying it, or staying with it.
- The ads just aren’t working – Windows Live/MSN does have some ads. But not a lot. Plus, they’re kind of boring. Most of them are web ads. Links and color ads on the web. They did do some on some British newspapers, and are doing one for movie previews in Canada, but that’s not enough. Most web ads get avoided by people. People fear that the ads might release something awful onto their computer, so they avoid them altogether. Plus they could care less. So Windows Live ads are probaly going to fail in that sector. Then it’s what the ads have on them. The ads don’t do a good job of showing how Windows Live is better. They show some neat stuff, but they don’t compare it to other search engines. If they were real competitive, than they should target other search engines, and show how Windows Live is better. Instant Answers, clean layout, nice UI, that kind of stuff. Compare it directly to other search engines. Plus they need more different ad formats. One day, when Windows Live and MSN do things really right, then they should launch a big ad campaign. Like AT&T does. Be everywhere. Not just web ads, but on TV ads, product placement in TV shows and movies, partnerships with other websites and organizations, throwing big bashes in major cities, sponsoring events, and tons of stuff to get their name across the U.S. Of course, when Windows Live/MSN is ready (which in mind, they’re personally not good enough to get people over). So they should show direct comparisons with it’s competitors, and launch a gigantic ad campaign.
- No hype, no interest, nothing – One way a newbie in the market can get lots of people to come to them, is by word of mouth. That’s how Google came to be. They really didn’t have to advertise themselves. They did something the industry hadn’t seen before, and as a result, they got lots of users today. That’s how most newbies who really want to be something do it, they get people vey interested, and people talk about it a lot. Then theyu deliver, and bam! They’ve got users. Unfortnately, Windows Live/MSN really has nothing to brag about. So they really can’t get anything out of it, unless they’ve got something. That the whole world could care about.
- No strong international indentity – Windows Live/MSN also doesn’t have much of an influence in international countries outside the U.S.. For most international users, it’s just for good use as a IM, and e-mail. Otherwise than that, other users in different countries care less about what they have. Compared to U.S. content, content in other countries is scarce. Services and search are a low for those countries. Live Search is not pushing to be the best in other countries. This is probaly due to the fact that Live Search just isn’t getting too many users here as well. Hopefully they can make their international brand more stronger.
So that’s the 3 main problems with MSN/Windows Live: Nothing really great about it, Not so great ads, and Nothing too interesting about it that people would love to think about. So until they can do something about those 3 problems, MSN/Windows Live is going nowhere.
Of course, I’ve got tons of ideas (some that could change the world), and I wouldn’t mind going to Microsoft Corp. to share them. Since Microsoft has the potential of making them real. So if there’s any Microsoftie that would like to talk to me, go ahead. I’m waiting.