Archives for posts with tag: Yahoo
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It wasn't all her fault, but Carol Bartz's resignation as CEO of Yahoo likely will be remembered as the final straw that broke the back of the once-great Internet company. Bartz oversaw the deal that essentially gifted Yahoo's search revenue stream to Microsoft and abandoned future search ambitions by allowing its engine to be powered by Bing. Bartz was dealt a really difficult hand by the former custodians of Yahoo but her direction for the company seemed flawed from the start. From all of her rhetoric, it was clear from the outset that she did not hold search as a particularly important aspect of Yahoo's holdings and she doubled down on display advertising efforts. In my opinion, this was a big mistake.

When Bartz took over, people in my business talked about Google, Yahoo and Microsoft–in that order–when discussing the search landscape. Google was the juggernaut but Yahoo was the company that first began to invest in building out a revenue model to accompany their popular search engine. Yahoo purchased Overture, they rebranded it, they relaunched it, they tailored it, they supported it and, ultimately, under Bartz's stewardship, they discarded it. Now, when people talk about search, they mention Google and Bing; Yahoo very justly doesn't enter the conversation. It's a shame that Yahoo has suffered this fate when they were once so innovative or, at least, so good at recognizing innovative companies to acquire and paths to pursue.¬†

There is clearly room for two or more players in the field of search; it's sad that Yahoo lost its footing in that field without even putting up a fight. I wish the best of luck to Bart, to the company that she's leaving and to the company that lands with. She's an extremely capable person by all accounts that just didn't have the right tools or ideas to save Yahoo. I hope that this isn't the last we'll hear from Yahoo but it's going to be even tougher for Bartz's successor to turn the company around than it was for her. [Forbes]
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“We’re #2! We’re #2!”

That’s the chant coming out of Seattle or, at least, it should be. Bing is officially the second most popular search engine in the US, overtaking Yahoo according to a recent report from BusinessWire. This is big news for Microsoft, which has been pushing Bing through multi-multi-multi-million dollar ad campaigns since, well… forever. Of course, Bing overtaking Yahoo is actually something of a mixed blessing because both engines have been serving up Bing results (which also serves up Google results) for some time now. Still, congrats are in order for Bing. Hopefully, this accomplishment will cause Microsoft to take more interest in search and dedicate more resources to to improving adCenter, which still lags way behind AdWords in terms of usability, options and technology. Even if it results in Bing trying to innovate on the search end, that would be good news for consumers and haters of monopolies. 

Remember, even though Bing leaves a lot to be desired when compared to Google in many ways, it’s still the only thing standing between Google and a near perfect monopoly of the US search market. And if you think Google is scary now, imagine Google without competition. On second thought, don’t. Despite this news, the future is still very bright for Google. Unless Microsoft really pushes ingenuity with Bing on the user and advertiser side, you may only have to wait a few years before Google wins out for real.

[BusinessWire via Lifehacker]

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Every football-loving American knows that that the best platform for fantasy football is Yahoo’s. If you disagree and you use NFL.com’s or ESPN.com’s platform for your fantasy football, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Yahoo’s interface is easier, its iPhone app is better and the pages load faster and without noisy, auto-play ads. In order to use Yahoo’s fantasy football vehicle, though, you have to have a Yahoo ID. Well, that may not be the case next football season.

AllThingsD reports that Yahoo will soon begin to allow users to log in using their Facebook and (gasp!) Google accounts. Gizmodo’s take on the situation is that Yahoo is simply giving up, waving the white flag in a similar manner that MySpace did years ago. Yahoo was long considered one of the biggest, strongest, most important and most relevant Internet companies in the world. It was one of the few companies to survive the Dot-Com Bubble of the late 90s and was still going strong years later. In the past few years, though, Google’s dominance of the search space, Facebook’s dominance of the social space and Microsoft’s annexation of Yahoo’s paid search platform left very little for Yahoo to capitalize on aside from their display network (which has also lost ground to Google’s). The writing has been on the wall for some time and it seems that Yahoo’s best days are officially in the rear-view mirror.

In my opinion, the big news isn’t Yahoo’s retreat; that was a long time coming. It’s not even that Yahoo will allow accounts from its long time nemesis, Google, to log in, even if that does seem extraordinarily strange. The most interesting news is that Facebook logins will be able to be used to access Yahoo properties which will include recreational activities like fantasy football and more compulsory items like Yahoo email. Keep in mind that if you’re using Facebook to log in to anything, that means that Facebook knows who you are while you’re using what you’re logged in to.

Facebook already knows so much about you and, compared to Google, Microsoft and other ad delivery systems, it knows much, much more. Think about it, much fewer people have a Google profile than a Facebook profile; those that have both generally reveal much more about themselves in the latter compared to the former. Of course, it’s easier for Facebook to know who you are if you’re logged in to Facebook. Many of us log out as soon as we’re done but as Facebook accounts become increasingly available as means of logging into other sites (in this case, Yahoo) Facebook’s cache of knowledge becomes more and more valuable. Wpromote’s CEO, Michael Mothner has suggested that with this knowledge, Facebook could engage in display advertising in direct competition with Google. Whereas Google focuses ads based on where you are, Facebook could focus ads based on who you are. Whereas Google might populate clothing ads on a fashion blog or concert ticket ads on a music site, Facebook might know that you posted an update saying that you love the Lakers, and post ads related to Laker tickets and merchandise as a result. 

If Mothner’s theory is correct, then Facebook could very quickly dominate the display advertising landscape. If Facebook ads are better ads and better ads are more valuable, then it’s an easy decision for website owners to choose to run ads powered by Facebook over ads powered by Google. Yahoo’s decision to allow people to log in using their Facebook accounts could be a major step in the direction of display advertising dominance for Facebook. 

So, when you’re deciding on whether to start Rashard Mendenhall or Peyton Hillis next year, don’t be surprised if the ads on the page are eerily similar to things you’ve been thinking about buying… especially if you’ve mentioned it on Facebook!

[AllThingsD]
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Last year, after the failed takeover attempt of Yahoo by Microsoft, the two much smaller legs of the search marketing tripod (which also includes Google as a much, much bigger leg) came together with a different sort of deal. Microsoft will still be taking over Yahoo's search marketing but not taking over Yahoo as a whole. Today, the deal was finally approved by the US government and the European Union.

This brings us full circle. It started with Overture, a smart little company that sort of invented search marketing, in a way, which was purchased years ago by Yahoo. Trhough Overture, you could not only advertise on Yahoo properties, but also on Microsoft's search engine: MSN/Live. Eventually Microsoft realized that they could be making the sort of money that Yahoo was raking in with Overture and decided to part ways and develop their own platform which they labeled MSN adCenter. Overture was renamed Yahoo Search Marketing and carried on with an improved interface. Now, with Yahoo in financial dire straits, Microsoft has come a-knockin' to save it from the revenue stream that it helped to bring to prominence.

This is a really sad development, in my mind. Yahoo was far from perfect and far from Google AdWords, but one thing that it was not, was MSN adCenter. Confused? Fair enough. Basically, Google AdWords is the alpha dog. Not only do you reach more people through it than through Yahoo and MSN/Bing combined, but it is also–by leaps and bounds–the best interface with the best user experience and best tools. Yahoo is a distant second. However, as distant a second as Yahoo may be from Google, MSN is more so a distant third to Yahoo. Using adCenter is the search marketing equivalent of Sisyphusian toil. I won't bother with the details here. My worry, of course, is that, eventually, adCenter and all of its dreadful shortcomings will replace what is a flawed but working Yahoo interface rather than the other way around.

Most people think of me as a pessimist and they're right. I'm the guy with low expectations who is secretly hoping to be pleasantly surprised all the time. I mean, it's possible that a Yahoo/Microsoft cooperative effort will actually increase competition with Google and, therefore, drive improvements all around, right? I don't know, my hopes are pretty low; they are almost as low as when I saw the movie Valentine's Day this past weekend. Those were some monumentally low hopes. Even still, Valentine's Day still managed to disappoint. So, to Microsoft, I proffer, "Please, if possible, consider that if you blow this, you will have succeed in trumping the movie Valentine's Day at being remarkably terrible despite impossibly low expectations."

Please don't blow this. [ReadWriteWeb]