Looking for Live.com? Go to Google

It’s a new year. So why not start out 2007 with a question:

Why is Live.com advertising on Google?

The answer seems obvious enough – to drive traffic to Live.com.

But what does that say to a Google user? “Sure, you already chose Google to deliver your search results. But Live.com offers search results too!” That’s hardly a selling point.

I guess I don’t see the benefit in Live.com maintaining a search marketing campaign using Google AdWords. Or could it be that so few people even know that Live.com exists, that Microsoft is willing to sleep with the enemy in an effort to attract new users?

If you’re unfamiliar with Live.com, here’s a little info. Live.com, officialy titled Windows Live Search, is Microsoft’s search engine. Think of it as a streamlined, Google-esque version of MSN.com. Released from beta in September 2006, Live.com replaced Microsoft’s existing search engine, search.msn.com.

Nielsen//NetRatings search engine usage stats (PDF), released November 2006, show MSN/Windows Live Search dropping to 8.2% on the search share scale. (Say that 3 times fast.)

With Google hovering around 50% (according to Nielsen//NetRatings), MSN appears to be taking advantage of this to promote its own Live.com search services.

But here’s where one of my New Years resolutions tells me to think twice about flirting with Live.com. My resolution? Stay current. Meaning? Keep on top of this ever changing game, to the best of my abilities.

So when I hit the Windows Live homepage this morning, January 2nd, 2007, the text reads, “Ready for the holidays?”

I cringe.

I’m not one to make a list of predictions for the new year. But in 2007 I predict that Live.com will continue to pay for ad space on Google.