MySpace Looking To Auction Search To Google, Microsoft or Yahoo

We heard
last month that MySpace is interested in partnering with Google or Microsoft.
Now Yahoo appears to be in the running. MySpace-owner News Corp’s Chief
Operating Officer Peter Chermin

said today
MySpace plans to "auction off our search business of of the three
biggest, Google, Yahoo and MSN, and see the best we can get."

I thought Yahoo was already powering the results at MySpace, since you can
see Yahoo results coming up when you search over there. This
mentions the same. But Yahoo tells me that’s not the case. It’s
undisclosed Yahoo partners that are reselling Yahoo’s results to MySpace. And
presumably, MySpace would get a better deal by cutting out the middlemen.

Coincidentally, TechCrunch had a

today about MySpace and its stature as the sixth largest search
network, based on recent
comScore figures.
But as I commented over there

Let?s qualify that sixth place ranking. They have a 0.6% share of the US
search market which is way, way behind 5th place Ask with a 5.8% share and not
even registering with Google?s 43.1% share. Well, they?ll catch up. Yeah,
maybe. Then again, with all those pages viewed, this is the best they can do
with search activity already? And that search is powered by Yahoo, so though
MySpace isn?t a Yahoo site, Yahoo certainly gets its listings in front of this
small percentage of searchers.

You can’t ignore the monster that MySpace has become and the potential it
represents. Then again, it currently is tiny in search even with those millions
of users.

Postscript: Previously I’d written that
Revenue Science was providing the
middleman service of search results for MySpace, because that was the name I was
given by Yahoo when I asked about the search results. Yahoo later pointed out
that they said Revenue Science resold their contextual listings to MySpace but
that the keyword-triggered results are handled by others, partners they
won’t name.

Revenue Science also emailed to say they do more than act as a middleman for
web sites, providing ads based on behavioral activity. That’s true. And they may
be providing behavioral ads for MySpace. It’s whoever is providing the search
results that’s serving as the go-between.

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