Good post on TechCrunch today about how the big guys (Google, MSN, MySpace) are driving traffic to online retailers:
New Hitwise findings indicate that MySpace sent more US traffic to online retail sites last week than MSN search, the third largest search engine on the web. That’s big news, as it’s tangible evidence that youth oriented online social networking is a market driver of serious proportions.
The Hitwise report puts Yahoo! as the source of 4.69 percent of traffic to online retail sites, MySpace as 2.53 percent and MSN search at 2.33 percent for the week ending August 26th. Google leads the pack at 14.93 percent.
One sentence caught my attention, and needs some clarification:
Google’s advertising, which is generally believed to be more effective than that of competitors, hasn’t kicked in at MySpace yet. If Google can make MySpace search more bearable when it takes over in the fourth quarter of this year, then you can expect MySpace to drive more traffic to retail sites than ever.
Instead, I think it should read: "If Google can make MySpace search more bearable... then you can expect
MySpace Google to drive more traffic to retail sites than ever."
MySpace is essentially outsourcing its kitchen over to Google and becoming another node in its network. When that happens, MySpace will actually deliver *less* traffic to retailers, while feeding the Google beast and giving it an even bigger share of web traffic. Retailers looking at their log files will see the traffic coming from "Google AdSense", not from MySpace.
In this relationship, Google is the only one that walks away with the long term assets of advertiser base and deep expertise in monetizing traffic.