When it comes to the blog world, Google is king. Whenever the search engine giant makes a move of any kind, bloggers (like the media) are quick to echo their praises, or their rebukes. All this free advertising makes Google one of the most popular names on planet Earth, with one father naming his kid after the company (how weird is that?)
If there is one company with the desire (and ability) to dethrone Google as the topic of the century, it would be Microsoft. Having lost important employees, and business deals, not to mention threats against its bread and butter—twice, Microsoft is probably eager to gain the eyeballs to show the world what it can do.
And what better way to do this than to get some positive attention from the blogosphere (for a change)? So, without further delay, here are seven tips for the software juggernaut.
1) Avoid buying Facebook: Huh? Why would anyone avoid purchasing a company that even Google feels threatened by? Aside from the fact that Mark Zuckerburg is not interested in selling it (which must tick Google off), it would be much easier for Microsoft to maintain its ad presence on Facebook than to shell out $10 billion for the social network.
2) Purchase Digg: With Google launching its own social linking service and Yahoo! purchasing Del.icio.us two years ago, Microsoft may find itself with its pants down if they waste too much time deciding what to do in this field. Digg is already popular with many (if not most) bloggers, and an early buyout could ensure Microsoft’s dominance in this arena.
Since they are already running Microsoft Ads, why not add it to the family?
3) Assimilate Technorati: Despite the fact that Technorati may not be going through the best of times, it still is one of the few blog search engines able to hold its own against Google Blog Search. Since Technorati has indexed far more blogs than its nearest competitors, a quick purchase would enable Microsoft to dominate the search engine world of the blogosphere.
Many bloggers already use technorati tags to track various conversations, and picking up this ancient startup would help Microsoft to be seen as the “go to guy” for the latest pulse of the blogosphere, instead of Google.
4) Acquire Pheedo.com: With Google’s purchase of Feedburner, many bloggers are anxious at finding ways to monetize their site feeds. While Feedburner allows only big time bloggers to place ads in their RSS feeds, Pheedo gives every blogger the opportunity to make money off of their site feed.
Although not as popular as Feedburner, Pheedo has the potential to outshine its rival, and an early buyout by Microsoft could enable it to gain market share in the future “feed wars.”
5) Hire Rick Brewster of Paint.NET: For those of you who don’t know, Paint.NET (which can be found over at GetPaint.net) is a free photo editing software program that does wonders for images. In fact this program made PC World’s 2007 top 100 list, beating out Google’s Picasa (which came in 36th place compared to Paint.NET’s 19th position). This would compliment Microsoft well, especially with the failure of Microsoft Max, which was the companies answer to Google’s Picasa.
Since adding images to blog posts is important (at least according to Lorelle on ProBlogger), Microsoft should consider hiring Rick (and anyone who works on Paint.NET) full time, or consider purchasing the rights from him and offering this software for free to the masses.
Microsoft could also provide a button to allow users to upload images from Paint.NET directly into Windows Live Spaces, a blog platform Microsoft owns.
6) Buy Slide.com: Organizing life’s photo’s has always been popular with people, which is one of the main reasons why people love uploading their images online for their friends (and family) to enjoy. With Yahoo! owning Flickr, News Corporation purchasing Photobucket and Google rolling their own photo network (and hooking it up with Blogger), Microsoft leaves few options for users loyal to its services (or ignorant of its competitors) to engage in the fun.
While Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces already has a mini album within it, bloggers may prefer to “outsource” their photo’s elsewhere in order to highlight their various adventures. Slide would be a perfect companion to Microsoft, and coupled with Paint.NET this would enable Microsoft to not only “stay in the game,” but perhaps pull ahead of its rivals (Photobucket aside).
7) Promote Microsoft as alternate ads: While it is doubtful that any ad service is going to replace Google’s Ad Sense over night, Microsoft could try to entice bloggers to use its ads as an alternative whenever a Google Ad does not appear.
In order to make this available to as many weblogs as possible, Microsoft should consider providing bloggers with a simple url to have their Microsoft ad appear when Google Ads fail, similar to what Alternate URL does. That way any blogger (whether self hosted or free hosted on Blogger, WordPress.com, etc.) could easily add this code to their site.
This would help Microsoft gain exposure among “newbies,” not to mention give them an opportunity to gain market share to seriously challenge Google’s advertising armada at a future date.
Although appealing directly to the blogosphere is not a guarantee towards victory, it would enable the company to actually receive some positive chatter online. Microsoft has always desired to be the “darling” of the media again, and appealing to the blogosphere could be the first step down the path to receiving old glory.