Tag Archives: Yahoo!

Yahoo chases social media with Twitter deal

Yahoo! is making a bid for social media relevance by getting closer to Twitter. The troubled search firm says it plans to go further than Google or Bing and do more than add Twitter to search results.

I have no idea if this will pan out for Yahoo. But what is clear is that Twitter is an integral part of Yahoo’s plan to turn itself into a social media hub so that anyone with a Yahoo! ID can update multiple social networks simultaneously. There is talk of deals with MySpace and LinkedIn as well. They are throwing it all in.

There are clear parallels with Google and its efforts to socialise itself with Google Buzz (while we are on Buzz why did Google choose that name when Yahoo already has Yahoo Buzz?). Both search firms want the search traffic, but they want more than that: they want the social media engagement as well. They want to put themselves at the centre of your (yes you) social media universe.

Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president, consumer products group, Yahoo! couldn’t be any clearer about this:

“We’re turning the key to the online social universe — you will find the most personally relevant experiences through Yahoo. We’re also simplifying people’s lives by bringing their social worlds — and the world — together for easy access.”

Yahoo! has already tied with Facebook and the Twitter deal, which will see Yahoo! pay undisclosed millions to the microblogging firm, should be done by December.

So what exactly Yahoo! planning with its 140 character deal? Well in the press release announcing the deal Yahoo says the partnership it says it includes three primary elements:

1) People will be able to access their personal Twitter feeds across Yahoo!’s many products and properties, including the homepage, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Sports, and others, letting them check in more easily on what’s happening with the people and things they care about while on Yahoo!.

2) People will be able to update their Twitter status and share content from Yahoo! in their Twitter stream, so they can easily share their Yahoo! experiences with their friends and followers on Twitter.

3) Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! media properties like News, Finance, Entertainment, and Sports will include real-time public Twitter updates across a variety of topics. Yahoo! Search users will immediately see real-time Twitter results today; go to Yahoo! and try it out.

One question that crops up is this: what does this mean for Twitter money making plans? Sure it is getting cash for its data, but Yahoo!, Bing and Google are doing these deals because they think they can monetize it around their advertising.

Yahoo is clear in its release about this issue. It says that it will use the Twitter integration to “drive deeper user engagement, and create new and compelling opportunities for developers, advertisers, and publishers”.

See all about money. Twitter is working on an own ad platform of its own and Anamitra Banerji, head of monetization at Twitter, has told the US IAB that “he is concerned that some of the external Twitter ad platforms may be doing damage to the Twitter experience”. Yeah, that and future revenues.

There is a weird schizophrenic thing going on at Twitter. It needs to make money as it grows and burns cash and it is doing that with these partnerships, but clearly there is a concern within Twitter itself of how these deals might “damage” its own efforts to generate cash.

There is an awful lot riding on Twitter. It’s own hopes of expansion and also those of rivals. For Yahoo! this socialisation feels like a chance to regain relevance. Although as someone who never uses it I’m really not sure how that is going to pan out.

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Saving AOL with the help of P&G

The analysts say the situation is dire, but Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, tells the New York Times how he is going to save the company with the help of Procter & Gamble.

Former Google boy Armstrong tells the paper that: “If you tried to recreate AOL’s assets, it would be incredibly expensive.”

This is true and so is the fact that no one would. For Armstrong it is a case of working with what you’ve got and building on it. He has to, but let’s face it AOL is a funny company. A real hotch potch. Here’s a for instance. AOL still has 6.2m dial-up internet customers. Pretty amazing, right? So is the fact that 200,000 of them cancel every month.

Its main business is (internet access being an increasing side show) advertising and content. It makes a lot of content and Armstrong is pinning his hopes on that being AOL’s salvation.

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MySpace ventures into webmail

News Corporation’s MySpace is believed to be rolling out its own webmail service tomorrow. According to paidContent.org, users will be given their own addresses “@myspace.com”.

Apparently “a bunch of ex-Hotmail guys”are running the project out of Seattle. It is unclear whether the social networking site, which has 130m global members, will limit the webmail service to US users only.

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Yahoo! plays its safe with CEO appointment

Yahoo! has continued to do exactly what got it in this mess in the first place. It has played it boring and hired a CEO, in Carol Bartz, who is a safe pair of hands for a publicly quoted company, but has little or no Web 2.0 or advertising experience – apparently these are important to Yahoo!.

Please someone get me a rocket scientist. No seriously, as apparently while it isn’t rocket science you DO actually need a rocket scientist to make these decisions (I’m guessing he can just walk around the building shouting “MAXIMUM THRUST” like a lot).

I’m clearly not the only one thinking this as investor reaction caused the stock to drop as low as $11.78 before climbing back to $12.1. Needless to remind everyone last year it was trading at around $22 before a year of losing ground.

Prior to Yahoo! Bartz spent 14 years at Autodesk (and was on the boards of Intel and Cisco) and clearly has lots of executive and technology experience running a publicly quoted company. What do you mean you are not familiar with the computer-aided design software firm? To be fair she did increase revenues from $300m to $1.5bn and the company’s share price increased nearly ten-fold. Good luck with that at Yahoo!.

Her appointment looks like a total compromise as headhunter firm Heidrick & Struggles, which led the CEO search, has said that Yahoo! would also be looking for a strong No. 2 with more internet and product experience. Why not put someone like that in charge of the company in the first place? Just a thought.

There were a number of candidates out there who could have taken the Yahoo! job, but in the end the once grand search firm seems to have had trouble attracting people to the job – because it is really a tough sell.

One of those people in minor contention, but who really wanted the job was Yahoo! president Sue Decker who has resigned. She was very closely associated with Jerry Yang and look how that worked out. It was probably a smart choice not to give her the job.

Reports have suggested that the Yahoo! board got a lot more knock backs from outside execs than expected for the CEO job because of the challenges and sinking moral. Runners and riders are thought to have included former Yahoo! chief operating officer Dan Rosenweig, who currently runs media private equity firm Quadrangle; Meg Whitman, long-time Ebay CEO; Tim Armstrong, Google’s North American head of sales; News Corp’s COO Peter Chernin; and current Juniper Networks executive Kevin Johnson. Former AOL chief Jonathan Miller was also linked.

All that seems clear is that Yahoo! will not remain in its current form for much longer. Totally convinced of that. It has lost all initiative and is falling further behind as we type.

I know this because no one talks about it or uses it. The only time it is talked about is that time that Microsoft tried to buy it? Oh and there was that Google deal. Those were the days. That could have been a transformational deal, but now that Window has been firmly shut and it is not a door opening. It looks more like a whole. Hole.

Bartz will no doubt safely steer Yahoo! as a highly competent executive, but it is a firm that desperately needed to be more than safely steered.

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Facebook says no to Twitter

Facebook has walked out on talks to buy Twitter saying $500m was too much. Some will say that maybe it is for a service that makes no money – but I’m still convinced it has much potential.

It’s a little amusing for Facebook – over valued at some ludicrous $15bn – to walk away over issues of price. It would have bought Twitter in stock and its stock is just not worth what it once was. It was the failure to agree how much its stock is worth now, in this new economic reality, that killed the deal. As the New York Times says the values of many net firms are more akin to a lottery than anything else with investors and buyers betting on the future.

The same, of course, happened to Facebook when two years ago when Yahoo! walked out on a deal to buy it over issues of price. Mark Zuckerberg must be counting his lucky stars that Yahoo! did that otherwise he would be lumped in with the whole train wreck that is Yahoo!.

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An independent Yahoo! is good for business (says Google)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is at it again telling anyone who
will listen what a great thing it would be for the industry if Yahoo! stayed
independent because “a combination with Microsoft “would
be anti-competitive”. Like he should know.

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What is Yahoo! for?

As Yahoo! boss Jerry Yang hits out at his detractors, there’s
an interesting piece around today that asks the salient question: what is
Yahoo!?

 

While Microsoft tries to resurrect its effort to buy
some/all of Yahoo!, Yang was yesterday talking up his ability to save Yahoo! and
slating the software giant.

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Jerry Yang smart dumb

I’m sure that Yahoo! chief executive Jerry Yang is a very smart man, but it seems that, like a lot of men, he is of the smart-dumb variety. That’s the only way to explain why he would want to sign a deal with his biggest competitor Google, which has in a short few years crushed Yahoo!’s own search business.

Yang, like a bride on the run, white dress trailing in the dust, has escaped the altar a second time, leaving Microsoft wondering what is with this guy? Good question.

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Google widens search lead over rivals

On the same day that Google moves ahead again in the search battle (it had almost 62% of the market), billionaire co-founder Larry Page criticised the potential Microsoft tie-up with Yahoo!, saying it would "concentrate too much power in the online communications market". Clearly Page has a real sense of humour.

Google extended its US lead in web search in April, taking market share from Yahoo! and Microsoft, according to the latest ComScore data.

The firm said Google captured a record-high 61.6% of the US market in April, up from 59.8% in March. Does anyone see that going south any time soon? No, it seems that like the irrepressible 80s pop classic "the only way is up" for Larry.

I mean the evidence is all there. For the last two years, Google has continuously gained share and at the expense of rivals.

Furthermore Google, was the only search company to record an increase in the number of searches in April, while Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL network and Ask.com all posted a decline of 5% or more.

Yahoo!'s US search market share fell to 20.4% a 0.9 percentage point decline from March, while Microsoft's slipped to 9.1% from 9.4%. AOL meanwhile dropped 0.2 percentage points to 4.6% and Ask dropped to 4.3% from 4.7%.

All this as Page criticises Microsoft's efforts to cut some kind of a deal with Yahoo!, but look at the numbers: combined in terms of search, the two will only have 29.5%, putting them 32.1% behind Google.

His argument is that a successful Microsoft-Yahoo deal would "close a lot of things that are really important… like instant messaging" and also web-based e-mail communications.

"Now, if you put 90% of communications all in one company … that's really a big risk, especially one [Microsoft] that has a history of doing bad stuff," he said. "So if you want to have good products, you need to have some degree of openness."

There is certainly truth to that line, with ComScore saying that a combined Microsoft-Yahoo! would have about a 70% of email and instant messaging market share in the US. That seems high, but it is no different to what has happened to the search market and the online ad market.

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Will Microsoft really buy Facebook and challenge the Google Monster?

That's the story that is starting to go around again, and it could do so for as much as $20bn. This could, in effect, create two scary companies, but isn't that better than one?

Read more on Will Microsoft really buy Facebook and challenge the Google Monster?…

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