Yahoo, Google Bloggers Snipe Over Copying

    December 12, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

It’s a meltdown of PageRank 9 proportions, as Jeremy Zawodny and Matt Cutts (of Yahoo and Google, respectively, but you knew that) took shots at each other’s corporate masters over strikingly similar pages touting Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7.

The barbs first flew from Zawodny’s blog, where he pointed out the page Yahoo created to promote a Yahoo-optimized IE7 distribution had been copied by Google:

Was some product marketing person so uninspired that he or she decided it was “good enough” to just copy us?

Seriously, click those images and look at the full-sized versions. They’re remarkably similar. And I’ve checked with our PR group to make sure that this wasn’t just a template that Microsoft gave to all partners. It’s not.

A few hours later, Zawodny updated his blog to note how Google had made some changes to look less like Yahoo’s effort now. Perhaps there were some private mea culpas exchanged, and life goes on.

Or not.

Cutts decided that if Yahoo needed to extract a pound of flesh over this, then maybe the blogosphere needed a refresher on some of Yahoo’s transgressions.

After offering an apology for Google’s apparent copying, Cutts pointed out with a few images how some of Yahoo’s contextual ad displays mirrored designs first implemented by Google. Then he summarized the whole issue in a response to a commenter on his blog:

Google would have to remove a single page that was seen maybe a few thousand times since Google put the page up on Friday. But tens of millions of people have seen Yahoo’s search results every day for the last couple years. Imagine if all those billions of page views had to be undone.

Yahoo comes out looking worse in this exchange, even though they had a legitimate complaint. Just because someone can blog about something doesn’t mean that they should, especially if it isn’t in an official capacity. Sometimes a private phone call or email can accomplish a lot more than blazing away from the keyboard, as tempting as it is to do so.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.