I've been following the proposed takeover of Yahoo by Microsoft. A lot of people are wondering what this would mean for Yahoo. Yahoo's stock price has shot up, Microsoft is down. Google, of course, opposes the prospective takeover, citing concerns over the "overwhelming share of instant messaging and web e-mail accounts" that would be controlled by one entity.
But what does this mean for iD Tech Camps, other computer camps, and the summer camp industry as a whole?
Most summer camps understand that web marketing is important. It is safe to say that most camps now rely on the web for advertising, and are incrementally spending more and more on web advertising as a share of their entire marketing budgets, cutting in some areas like print advertising.
Currently, according to ComScore, Google controls almost 60% of the U.S. search market, while Yahoo has just under 23% and Microsoft has just under 10%. So, the combined "YahooSoft" share would be a compelling 33% of the U.S. search market, which is considerable, but still half that of Google. But still, 90% of the U.S. search market is still controlled by just 3 companies.
My speculation is that the merger would have limited impact on a summer camp's overall spending and spending habits. Why? Most camps are spending most heavily within the Google network already. Google already competes with Yahoo and MSN. If "YahooSoft" becomes a reality, the search reach will be the same as if the two companies were independent. So, to me, from a search perspective, this is a big "no big deal." Yahoosoft and Google would have to compete, as they already do, and the best products and most relevant searches will ultimately reign. Right now, that is why Google is winning in search. But, as we all know, technology changes overnight and things can happen fast.
Ultimately, should Google be threatened by YahooSoft? I don't think so. The biggest threat is that a "baby Google" is incubating out there. We know it is already happening. An when it does, it will be good for all of us. It would be nice to have the share of the search market better split against more than just a couple of major companies. But until this happens, I think it will be business as usual. Maybe YahooSoft with give Google a run for its money, but don't expect it to happen any time soon--and don't expect to be paying less for search advertising with, or without, the deal.