How Relevant Are Homepages to the Web’s Future?

By: Chris Crum - May 10, 2010

Update: Yahoo tells WebProNews the video (embedded below) " highlights the philosophy & possible creative for Yahoo!’s campaign." So while it may be on the web, I guess it won’t necessarily be the approach for TV. In other words, it sounds like they’re just considering this approach.

Original Article: Yahoo has a new advertising campaign going, which takes aim at Google. Will it help the company’s market share? Bing has been taking a similar approach since its launch. While its share has done pretty well considering how new the "decision engine" still is, it’s barely put a dent in Google’s.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo is dropping $75 million to $85 million on the new campaign. A representative for Yahoo tells WebProNews,  "the $75-$85M spend range is a subset of the $100M Yahoo! announced last year."  The campaign is kind of an extension of that "It’s Y!ou" campaign they launched last fall. "You" are still the focus. Take a look at Yahoo’s new ad:

Whereas Bing kind of attacked Google’s results with its commercials, Yahoo is going after Google’s homepage. Is this a good strategy? For one, Google offers a personalized homepage in iGoogle, for those who don’t want the simplicity. I also wonder how big of a role the homepage plays into the search habits of users at this point. There’s no doubt that it plays some role, but how many searches are increasingly coming from search keys on phones? How many from the search box on the browser? Or from various other apps and sites?

Clearly, Yahoo is not just plugging search here. It’s plugging its homepage in its entirety and all of the content and apps that go with it. How important is a homepage these days? I know I have pretty much all of the access points I need for a regular day’s worth of web browsing and working available right from my browser (via bookmarks/add-ons).

That’s not to say that Yahoo’s homepage can’t be useful. I’m sure many do use it frequently, but is the homepage really the way to win market share at this point? Particularly with mobile becoming such an important factor not just in search, but in how people access the web?

Now iPads and iPad-like tablets appear to be the next big thing. How important is a web homepage with these devices? Yahoo’s ad seems to come at a time when web access is trending away from the homepage.

I’m not saying the homepage is dead. You’ve got to start somewhere. But consolidating "everything you need" into one place seems to be happening more and more from a different level than the web itself – from the operating system, and the web browser.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz recently said, "Google Is Going To Have A Problem". Meanwhile, Google Chrome OS devices that will go right to the (Google-powered) browser upon startup are on the way. Android is already doing pretty well, and it’s getting ready to go to TVs. Google is now plugging the latest  version of its Chrome browser, which is apparently super-fast, as Chrome’s share of the browser market continues to grow. The world (or at least the fraction of the world that cares about the search industry) is still waiting for the integration of Bing and Yahoo.

Note: There is some conversation going on about this topic over on our Facebook page.

What do you think of the latest Yahoo ad? Will it be successful for the company? How significant is the homepage to your web browsing habits? Share your thoughts.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • PLR Articles

    People are addicted to plain old Google homepage. It’s hard to change their taste and I don’t think Yahoo’s homepage campaign will do any better to win a search market share but it would surely help promote their other portal sections.


  • Jason

    It’ll be interesting to see if they keep trying to dress up the website with little fixes here and there to try to keep it relevant, or if they’ll take a whole new approach. I wonder what that would look like…

  • Ravi

    Yahoo is just wasting all its money and resources on doing nothing.

    • Rentals365

      It must be difficult for Yahoo knowing what to do. Seeing Google march ahead, gaining more and more market share. I think their money would be better spent elsewhere, rather than trying to convince users to use them for searching. I don’t think it really matters what they do with their HP.

  • kumars

    Google search page are much faster and high performance.

    • Guest

      I guess ten one hundredths of a second is just SO much faster!

  • B2B Lead Generation

    People love simple and effective along with following the leader.

    Second place for most, is like comparing rich vs poor. The gap is huge.

  • Guest

    You mentioned: “I’m not saying the homepage is dead. You’ve got to start somewhere.” BUT, with every browser now having a direct SE field to type into – I have not seen very many people over the last year EVER going to a SE homepage – the homepage is dead.


    I don’t think they have the capital to compete with Google. They would have to come up with something new and fresh to actually pull it off.

  • Guest

    Big ups to Yahoo!

    Hope they get the market share back, if i can’t find it on Google or Bing i can usually find it on Yahoo! they do a great job, with no hype.

    Great video

  • Joe

    One thng that may be missed in this whole issue of home pages is people like myself and many others use multiple home pages when using tabs, due to multiple email accounts i currently use five home pages it just makes things simpler upon start up.

  • Brandon Connell

    Are you in desperate need of topics to write about? This is just irrelevant. The majority of people who use Google only use it for search. About everything else including where they get news from is Yahoo’s homepage. Yahoo is my homepage, and the only reason I am kept in the loop. That’s not going to change any time soon as it’s been this way for 16 years in my case.

  • Simon Templer

    Well it will be a waste of an obscene amount of money if they go with this campaign. Personally I have never used a homepage like Yahoo and I agree with Chris Crum as I’ll bet most surfers search from the browser now.

    These homepages just get so much cr*p on them that they take ages to load even with a good dsl connection. I find it frustrating but maybe I’m alone on this.

    • Guest

      It is a wase of money the people they are advertising to do not even know how to set a homepage.

      They would be better off creating a better search system with no clutter.

      They need to understand that we pay for bandwidth. We do not want lots of crap advertising downloading videos and audio while we try to load a webpage.

  • Will

    I guess Yahoo never heard of iGoogle?!?

  • Sugiarno

    nice …

  • KP

    Google gives you the choice of having a nice clean homepage. OR, you can have your iGoogle page be the home page. You have a choice. Let me say it again, you have a CHOICE…..

    That is why I like Google or iGoogle over Yahoo and Bing. I can add or remove anything I want on iGoogle. Mail, videos,weather, all the stuff.
    Now Yahoo has so MUCH SPAM, crap, Ads, videos, commercials.

    I guess you guys are really having a tough time coming up with things to write about. This is an obvious topic that at first read, iGoogle.

    can you come up with something alittle more interesting.

    Losing your readers,

  • vybixa

    I usually find your articles interesting and reflective of the current trends in the market thinking. This one, though probably reflective of market thinking, is certainly not interesting.

    Yahoo surely know which side of their bread is buttered (and I am not refering to the side that falls first to the floor here), and are in a better position to decide where to spend their money. It may be that their research (and metrics) point to improvements in traffic and (market?) relevance with the combination of Search & Homepage, and unlike yourself, I am not about to disagree with them.

    Indeed, as pointed out in one of the comments above, I too believe Yahoo and Bing offer better search results than Google, and just need “exposure” of the right kind to hook new users. Google trumps them both on account, in my opinion, of hype not disimilar to the Apple kind (at least in terms of SERPs), and thus are able to deliver traffic et al …. aka Google have ridden the crest of the wave quite well! Its just a matter of time, though, before the force in the wave petters.

  • PhantomX

    The home page in today’s environment is a trillion dollar proposition. People want access to everything and everybody on their PC and mobile lifestyle: Spoken X Digital Media Group. . .

  • Michael Hartzell

    A cockpit for many is important. If a home page can be looked at as the home screen on my htc mobile, then the screen becomes a push button solution vs. a search with a million results.

    Whether the campaign works, that is to be seen but the concept of having a center which connects all the dots is still a good thing (especially since it can be tailor made)

  • Guest

    As others pointed out, iGoogle does everything Yahoo is claiming doesn’t do.

    And of course Yahoo’s commercial leaves out the fact that in addition to seeing things like news, sports & finance on the Yahoo homepage, you’re also seeing a good amount of annoying advertisements.

  • jason

    Google is fast compared to yahoo and when people want to perform a search they go for search page that is fast and have less distraction.

  • Jollymoon

    I would LOVE to find a better “all in one” homepage to bookmark as the place to start my Internet browsers…something fast, customizable, and relevant… I like and , but sometimes they are slow to load. It would be nice to look like a “feed reader” program and have favorites and places for other customizable links, like weather, a top 10 news feed, Google’s top 50 recent searches, and other plug in links to fit my needs.

    Too much to ask?

  • Notebooks

    well, I never used any homepage.
    Btw – new Yahoo ad is very cool.

  • Guest

    It’s funny but I use Google search all the time, mostly from IE8’s upper right search box. My Homepage has been Yahoo for years. Use it for weather, stocks, news, techbargains, etc.

  • Perfect

    To me i don’t use such, in short it distract me.

  • Troy

    I use google for search and yahoo for news. Yes, yahoo offers more on its homepage. That makes it useful for news. But when I am searching, google is simple, plain and non distracting.

  • Guest

    I used to use my yahoo but all the clutter, junk and advertising being forced on my made me switch.

    I once wrote to them and complained when they added crap to the top of the page. And they just wrote back and said thats he way it was going to be so I droped them.

  • Rich

    Yahoo has been on a downward spiral for years now. What they don’t mention is how many things they have removed. They want to focus on the features they have and believe they are number 1 for these things. The truth is Yahoo doesn’t compare to google and I or anyone I know rarely if ever even goes to Yahoo. Yahoo used to have a payment processor and they killed it. Geocities was well known for years, and they killed that too. Yahoo is only really known for removing somewhat useful services. Here today… Gone tomorrow. They don’t even have their own search spider. Really if they want to kick themselves in the butt for something… A few years ago when Google was small… They used the Google engine for providing searches. This is actually how I found google. I thought… Why go to Yahoo if I can go straight here and the page loads faster. And so I found a new and better search engine and it was all because of Yahoo…

    I believe Bing knows this too. (Yahoo probably doesn’t realize it, because they are too self-righteous in believing that they are number 1.) So, Bing knows people found and use google because of Yahoo… So, they will use Yahoo and people will start using Bing. Personally, Bing looks too much like a bad free home page when you get there and there’s a huge picture there. It’s not something I’d use just yet, but maybe someday.

  • kate

    I think it is good,if they really for people and the people will like it.

  • Gunnar Andreassen

    Smart attack ad – it got me thinking: I should use Yahoo more.

  • Bhandari Group

    Yahoo’s home page is good enough to give each and every information to the users. I don’t think it’s essential to change it. but, ya! they should go with some modifications. As far as google home page is concerned, it’s good. Google is adding it’s new features to it as a tag. It’s clean and cool.

  • Siskiyou Web Design

    I personally don’t use a mobile device to Search the Web, from the times I have, the time loading is just too slow and too small from me. Now I realize that tons of people do use them, so for those of you that do, and have a Homepage: Does that Homepage load fast enough for you?

    I do use iGoogle somewhat, but I still use the Classic View most the time, so I really wonder how effective the Homepage will become.

  • ClickZone

    Not sure if Yahoo can pull it off, especially with the possibility of Facebook and other Social Networks starting to enter into search, but I really liked the Ad. They did a good job speaking to the user.

  • John

    I think the simple homepage is the best approach for any search engine. I know many will disagree, but when you come to the search page, you’re looking to find specific information about a subject and a simple search page would defintely keep you focused on your target.

  • John Summer

    Yahoo e-mail is the spam capital of the world. Their home page contains more con game ads than MSN. Maybe Google, with it’s search box only home page, is a blessed relief from the junk and the bunk

  • matt

    Assuming the user lands on an inner page, then we can say the homepage is relevant. Conversion is a thought process and the homepage of a website answesr one of the three most important questions a user subconsciously asks when they land on a website.

    Where am I?

    If a user needs to trust a website more, to find out more about what this website is about then the homepage is the place to go.

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