How a blogger increased Yahoo’s search market share (in Compete’s stats!)

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As per Compete’s May data, Yahoo’s search market share was 13.3% – just that Compete did a calculation mistake (and lost credibility!)

Here is the entire story:

Compete uses the following regex to count the number of Yahoo! searches:

^/search\?(.*&)?p=[^&]+

It actually excludes a vast number of searches that uses Yahoo! link tracking parameter. For example, a search made from Firefox searchbox has the following url:
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Perl&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz2
But, when you refine the query by adding “language” in the search box in the results page, following is the url:
http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0geu6Xv_FhIOyoBokNXNyoA?p=Perl+language&y=Search&fr=moz2&ei=UTF-8

Anybody who has worked with regexes can see that this url and scores of similar urls of query refinement won’t match the regex supposedly used by Compete and hence not counted! [source]

Compete took a note of this and have corrected the bug

..long story short, we have fixed our Yahoo! rules..The bottom line is that we now have Yahoo! share between 18.5% and 19% depending on your personal opinion of Club Live search queries.

And Yahoo’s search market share, in Compete’s eyes rose to 19.1%! (wow! so much so for credibility!)

The above finding is from Sundar, an ex-Yahoo (and now with ziva/zook).

An apt quote to describe the entire story – “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”

Dig?

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