Google Copies Yahoo’s IE7 Page; Originality War Breaks Out!

Google Blatantly Copies Yahoo!? from Yahoo’s Jeremy Zawodny makes a pretty damning case against Google for blatantly ripping off Yahoo’s Internet Explorer 7 promo copy. Yahoo offers a custom version of IE7 via a pitch page you’ll see here. Google appears to have launched its own pitch page yesterday, one that was amazingly similar in look and feel to Yahoo’s.

Jeremy has the side-by-side photos of how the pages looked. Google’s page has since changed. In many places, the copy was either identical or the word Yahoo was simply swapped for Google.

At best, I thought perhaps Google was using some type of template page that Microsoft was encouraging cobranded partners to use. Jeremy says that’s not the case.

Google’s Matt Cutts weighs in with his own post on the topic, damage control by pointing out how Yahoo has copied Google’s ad style, Yahoo ads evolving to match what Google’s showing currently.

True. And Yahoo can easily point out that Google decided that paid ads made sense after imitating GoTo (which Yahoo later bought), plus that Google got real success with ads by moving to a CPC cost format rather than the CPM that they started with.

If I had time and desire, I’d sit here all day pointing out similar things that Google has copied from others, that Yahoo has copied from others, that Microsoft has copied from others, that Ask has copied from others. There’s no end of finger pointing that can be done.

I will say that I find a difference between mimicking user interfaces and simply flat-out copying a landing page. If a particular user interface or standard has evolved into a standard, I can generally back the idea that the industry moves to that, regardless of who pioneered it. But just taking a page and doing a search-and-replace? I cut less slack on that.

There’s no end of discussion sparked by the pages. To get a good roundup, see here on Techmeme for those talking about Jeremy’s story and here for those discussing Matt’s.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: Browsers | Google: Critics | Google: Marketing | Google: User Interface | Microsoft: Internet Explorer | Search Ads: General | Yahoo: Browsers | Yahoo: Marketing | Yahoo: User Interface


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Sandpetra

    How’s that for some duplicate content!

  • Brokerblogger

    IMO, this is “much ado about nothing” unless copyright or patent laws have been broken. Rather than “finger pointing” why doesn’t everybody realize that “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery”. An analogy can be made to Lexus copying many stying cues from Mercedes over the years, and Merecedes copying the softer leather interior cues from Lexus many years back.

    What a better search world it would be if all the search engines had smaller “competitive egos”, and greater cooperative mindsets to more quickly achieve greater relevant SERP results based on user intent.

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