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New comScore Search Metrics: 'Explict Core Search' Up At Yahoo, Bing, Down At Google

As Danny earlier pointed out, comScore has devised a new metric called “Explicit Core Search” to separate intended search results from slideshow “gaming” (“contextual search”), which had arguably distorted search volumes at Yahoo and to some degree Bing in recent months.

Here’s how comScore explains the new metric:

When comScore reports our July 2010 qSearch data this week, we will begin reporting an additional view of our U.S. Core Search data known as “Explicit Core Search” alongside our standard Core Search market reporting. comScore defines “Explicit Core Search” as user engagement with a search service with the intent to retrieve search results.

It’s now “Core Search” vs “Explicit Core Search.” Confused? If you want further understanding, you should see the very detailed Q&A with comScore about what gets counted and what doesn’t as part of the new metrics. Now for the numbers.

The financial analysts have published the comScore data ahead of comScore’s official release later today or tomorrow and here they are for July, 2010:

Share (there’s a conflict in the numbers being reported):

  • Google: 61.6% (UBS) vs. 65.8% (JP Morgan)
  • Yahoo: 20.1% (UBS) vs. 17.1% (JP Morgan)
  • Bing: 12.6% (UBS) vs. 11% (JP Morgan)
  • Ask: 3.5% (UBS) vs. 3.8% (JP Morgan)
  • AOL: 2.2% (UBS) vs. 2.3% (JP Morgan)

I’m getting the JP Morgan numbers from Business Insider, I got the UBS numbers directly. Citigroup reports figures consistent with the JP Morgan numbers. UBS may be reporting the broader data “Core Search” vs “Explicit Core Search.” The combined BingHoo share is 28.1%.

Search volume (per UBS comparing July year over year):

  • Google: up 17%
  • Yahoo: up 28%
  • Bing: up 74%
  • Ask: up 10%
  • AOL: down 16%

In anticipation of the new comScore metric, Yahoo offered its perspective on non-traditional forms of search in a blog post by Shashi Seth, Yahoo Search SVP:

A couple months ago, I wrote about the evolution of search and the changing industry standards for how we measure search share and understand trends across different types of searches and companies. Today, comScore has shared further perspective on the role that new types of searches will play in the future of search and the importance of measuring all types of search equitably across the industry

We at Yahoo! are excited to continue driving evolution in search by using the strength of Yahoo!’s awesome content and communications experiences along with our powerful search technology. We’re building new search features that help you discover more wherever you are online, and bring you new and better ways to find the things that matter to you most. And we’re doing this with our advertisers in mind, too, striking the right balance of responding to your interests and intent as a user, while identifying appropriate opportunities to show you relevant ads.

Everyone’s being very polite here but the new “explicit” metric is really about preserving the relevance and credibility of comScore’s market share and search volume reporting data in the face of slideshows and other non-traditional search query generation tactics. It will also be interesting to see how Nielsen and Hitwise adapt and respond, if they do.

Postscript: Here’s comScore’s official press release.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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