July 19, 2012
I use Yahoo mail. Not much else now. The reason has to do with the interface, the annoying weird stuff which appears when I check my aging My Yahoo page, and the awkward 1995, Excite-style of portal clutter.
Yahoo has zoomed through CEOs, search strategies, open source plays, and acquisitions. I finally ignored the company. It was just an AOL with a different color scheme. Now like AOL, it has a Xoogler at the helm. I wish the new boss well in her job, her new life adventure, and her juggling mom stuff with Yahoo stuff.
A clueless adult provides inputs to a child. Poobahs and pundits embrace this approach to help Yahoo become a powerhouse again. How is that working out, I wonder? A happy quack to http://simplyshreya.blogspot.com/
I read two articles from hugely popular “real” journalistic wizards in big company management. I want to comment on each of the poobah’s insights and then wrap up with a few observations from Harrod’s Creek. If you are a fan of mavens and mystics, you should stop reading now. Why not license a predictive analytics system and get on with your life. That software stuff is going to take over the world anyway.
The write up is by Doug Gross of that business centric CNN. I saw the title and automatically converted it to “How Can CNN Be Saved?”, but I digress.
The main point of the CNN analysis struck me as the nugget in this passage:
By selecting Mayer over interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo could be tipping its hand as to what users can expect. Levinsohn’s background is in content, such as Yahoo News and related offerings such as Yahoo Voices (formerly Associated Content, a publishing platform that’s been criticized as a low-quality “content farm.”) Mayer, meanwhile, comes from a product-development background. In her 13 years at Google she helped create the look of a number of services, from Gmail to Google Maps.
Now there are some amazing quotes in the write up. Let me highlight one which shows the laser like thinking that one brings to saving Yahoo:
“Yahoo!’s fundamental problem is that it has too many disparate products with no clear unifying thread that ties them all together,”analyst Shar VanBoskirk of Forrester Research wrote on the company’s blog this week. VanBoskirk, who has followed Yahoo closely, said Mayer must be open to killing the company’s lesser products as she seeks to move things in the right direction.
Yep, an azure chip consultant suggesting that Yahoo kill products. I had to sit down and catch my breath due to the intellectual stimulation.
July 16, 2012
I wanted to document the event. “Yahoo Appoints Marissa Mayer Chief Executive Officer” appeared on July 16, 2012. Lots of praise in the Yahoo announcement. No argument from Harrods Creek. Here’s a snippet:
Yahoo! Co-Founder David Filo said, “Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting strategists in technology development. I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo’s product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors.” “The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa’s unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity,” said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
- Our view is that Yahoo has its work cut out for it. A high profile, really rich female may help, but Yahoo has to make some revenue progress.
- Yahoo is quite a bit like AOL. I am not sure this is exactly the type of outfit which can respond to new opportunities. Good ideas are widely available. Doing something that makes a difference may be easier to talk about than do.
- Why did Ms. Mayer leave Google? Money, visibility, power? These are great reasons, but I worry that the softening at Google and the shift under Mr. Page may have been factors. Hopefully more details will emerge.
In the meantime, I would reflect on one of Terry Semel’s Yahoo quotes. This one is from “Yahoo’s Mission Quest.”
“I don’t know that we have a motto. Well, the mission of the company is, Deliver great value to our consumers and, basically, value them.”
Perhaps Ms. Mayer can update this statement?
Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2012
Sponsored by Polyspot
May 12, 2012
The addled goose steers clear of icebergs. But Yahoo, flubs, and an azure chip consulting firm keep appearing in my Overflight system. The most recent item to catch my attention was “Heidrick & Struggles Slaps Back at Thompson’s Yahoo in Blame Game Over ResuMess.” In terms of Web indexing, this headline is a keeper. I am not sure how many hits “resumess” had prior to this article, but it will be a zingy word going forward.
The point of this write up is that an azure chip consulting firm in the business of recruiting blue-chip or maybe azure chip executives defended itself and its professionalism. Here’s the passage in the “real” news story I noted:
[Scott] Thompson [the CEO with the flub on his bio] did not name the firm, but he was clearly referring to Heidrick & Struggles, which handled that placement. It was also working on the Yahoo CEO search, after the Silicon Valley Internet giant fired its former CEO Carol Bartz last fall. But, because it had originally placed Thompson at eBay, the firm did not work on his hiring at Yahoo.
Ah, the same firm—Heidrick & Struggles–was involved with eBay and Yahoo. Some questions:
- What did the headhunting firm have in its files about Mr. Thompson? Perhaps an “old” version of Mr. Thomson’s curriculum vitae?
- Did anyone request a transcript from Mr. Thompson’s college? If so, who and when? What did the transcript reveal?
- Why did the azure chip consulting firm write a letter without some hard data. I have been in meetings in which highly paid consultants armed with stacks of “facts”, clippings, data, and interview notes. Why not present some of this information?
A mistake happened somewhere along the line. As a curious type of person, I was hoping for some more substance to what is a most interesting affair. Oh, I graduated from Bradley University with a major in poetry. Now I am an addled goose floating in a pond filled with mine run off. Iambic pentameter or perhaps something with a Catullus dactylic Hexameter. I should have applied for a job at eBay or Yahoo in my youth. Engineers, MBAs, accountants, and movie moguls have not fared particularly well. A spondee to you, gentle reader. A struggle one might say.
Stephen E Arnold, May 12, 2012
Sponsored by HighGainBlog
March 13, 2012
I read a couple of news stories by “real” journalists about Yahoo’s suing Facebook. A representative example of “real” journalism appears in “Yahoo Sues Facebook for Infringing 10 Patents.” Here’s the passage I noted:
Yahoo has used similar timing to its advantage in the past. Google agreed to issue shares to Yahoo nine days before Google went public in 2004 in exchange for a license to Yahoo’s patents. Google later took a $201 million non-cash charge related to the transaction. In deciding to sue Facebook, Yahoo has retained the same law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, used by Google and other manufacturers in many Android-related smartphone patent cases. Google is a player in social media with its Google+ service.
I recall to run up to Google’s initial public offering. Yahoo sued the Google. My recollection is that the allegations were related to Google’s advertising system and method. Yahoo obtained some know how when it purchased Overture. I think the Google spit out more than $200 million make the legal matter go away.
Here’s how I interpreted the Yahoo action. Yahoo sued Google for alleged infringement of the systems and methods for online advertising. Facebook has lots of Xooglers. Facebook developed online advertising. Therefore, maybe some Xooglers may ispired Yahoo’s action. I call this “where there are Xooglers, there is the possibility of intellectual fire.”
Those friendly, halcyon days in plastic fantastic land are now forever gone. Sniff. I smell a fire in the valley.
Stephen E Arnold, March 13, 2012
Sponsored by Pandia.com
February 4, 2012
Digg asks, “Under New Leadership, Will Yahoo Find Its Way?” Our view: nope. The CEO shuffle doesn’t seem to have helped the waning company the last three times they tried it.
Installed January 9, Scott Thompson is Yahoo’s newest captain. The article reports:
Thompson, who was previously president of eBay’s PayPal unit, might be Yahoo’s last hope for becoming relevant again as a player in online display advertising, a market which the media company once dominated. Private equity firms and others — such as Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com — had recently been showing an interest in buying Yahoo, which had been evaluating a number of strategic options.
The company’s challenges revolve around an identity crisis, asserts the write up. Could the frequent leadership turnover has anything to do with that?
With his technical background, Thompson is a unique choice for the Yahoo CEO chair. Perhaps that will help him succeed where others have not. A priority for the new boss, he has said, is to balance customer and merchant needs, something he worked on at PayPal.
How does the new Yahoo CEO deal with sagging revenues? Navigate to “Flickr Lays Off Highest Level of Customer Support.” We learned:
Yahoo has laid off at least five employees at Flickr, including the highest level of customer support: the people who fix bugs like the mistake that obliterated power user Mirco Wilhelm’s 3,400-odd photos last year.
Thompson will have to take more substantive action if the company hopes to catch up with outfits like Facebook and Google. Investors and users are unhappy, so the great turn-around may have a narrow window.
Cynthia Murrell, February 4m 2912
Sponsored by Pandia.com
January 4, 2012
Is it too late, or can Yahoo still get into the content analysis game? On December 21, ReadWrite Enterprise reported, “New Yahoo Content Analysis API Available Today.” Writer David Strom explains:
[The API’s] aim is to rank content by overall relevance, point to particular Wikipedia pages and annotate the results with extensive meta-data. The service is available as a Yahoo Query Language (YQL) table and more information can be found here. You can try out a sample query request and see the XML code that is returned in response, as well as documentation for the particular fields that are part of the interface.
Developed for internal use, the API is now fair game for any developer familiar with YQL. A couple of interesting points: key terms can be extracted from the content stream for ranking purposes. Also, content can be mapped to the Yahoo taxonomy. English and Chinese are currently supported, but more may become available.
Well, Yahoo, perhaps it is better late than never. We are not sure which company warrants close observation: Hewlett Packard, Research in Motion or Yahoo. Toss up maybe?
Cynthia Murrell, January 4, 2012
Sponsored by Pandia.com
October 12, 2011
Yahoo has been flailing around the internet ever since Google set anchor: this is no new news. The slight possibility for Yahoo to become a multinational corporation places the company in the media with Bloomberg’s article, “Silver Lake Said to Discuss Yahoo Deal with China’s Alibaba, Digital Sky.”
We learned about the potential opposition to this deal from the article:
Regulators may oppose foreign ownership of a company such as Yahoo, which plays a crucial role in U.S. communications through the delivery of e-mail and instant messaging. The company also serves as the second-largest U.S. search engine, through a partnership with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) The deal would face tax implications as well because of Yahoo’s stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan Corp. (4689), one person said.
The whole deal is very much up in the air at this point. After the recent firing of CEO Carol Burtz last month, Yahoo plans on evaluating their current plan.
Additionally, it has been reported that the group is not even certain if they will make a bid.
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma sees it in his best interest to buy Yahoo because Yahoo currently has a 40% stake in Alibaba. It would be interesting to hear about the motivations from the other two companies.
Megan Feil, October 12, 2011
September 20, 2011
Yahoo did make its mail service a bit more responsive. That’s a plus because Yahoo mail has been disappointing to our publisher Stephen E Arnold for a year. He complains about it when his T Mobile wireless broadband connection hangs when Yahoo’s servers are on a break.
And image search? We’re confused about Flickr. And in a much-needed effort to stay in the game, Yahoo has increased its image search functions. Search Engine Watch profiles the newest upgrade to Yahoo in, “Yahoo Launches Enhanced Image Search.”
Yahoo has announced a new image search that matches recent enhancement to Google and Bing. Yahoo’s new image presentation also allows for easy searching of galleries, a connection to your friends’ Facebook images, and easy navigation of full-sized images.
It boils down to whether anyone cares, and we are not sure that they do. Innovative in the beginning, Yahoo’s indexing set them apart, encouraging use by the librarian set who appreciated a more structured layout. Now Yahoo is relegated to a position of keeping up, mainly with Bing and Google. While the image features might be highly innovative, we are not sure that Yahoo still has the clout the pull in users to explore those features, or even stumble upon them.
Emily Rae Aldridge, September 20, 2011
September 7, 2011
I am in a country where cabbage is the main delicacy. I took time from marzipan with sauerkraut to read “Carol Bartz Confirms Her Own Firing –From Her iPad” to learn that the “new” Yahoo was a bit like the “new” Coca Cola. Hype did not generate big bucks. Here’s the statement I noted:
The moral of the story: how do you know a company is lying about something potentially damaging, even (and perhaps especially) in an official capacity? If their mouths are moving.
Too bad for Ms. Bartz, Yahoo stakeholders, and, I think, for AOL’s Xoogler boss. Here’s why:
- AOL has Ms Huffington, who may look like a way to fix the wandering AOL
- Yahoo had a female CEO, and AOL may think that it can emulate Yahoo with better results following its lead in management selection
- With new brass at the top of these me-too companies, someone might think merging the outfits will make a winner, an idea which the Xoogler has not acted upon
My view. Time is running out for both Yahoo and AOL.
Stephen E Arnold, September 7, 2011
Sponsored by Pandia.com, publishers of The New Landscape of Enterprise Search
August 5, 2011
It’s got to be tough being alpha dog. At least, it seems that way for Google who has one of the largest most used search engines in the world. With a slew of patent infringement lawsuits pending and several states looking into anti-trust issues associated with the top-dog, yet another company is complaining about Google’s business practices, as explained in the article, Local Business Site Challenges Google Ranking, on SiliconValley.com.
How search engines determine ranking is a closely guarded secret, a series of algorithms that can make or break websites, depending on where they fall in the rankings. This is precisely what ShopCity is complaining about. According to the small company, Google is ‘manually monkeying’ with the rankings in order for ShopCity sites to appear lower than Google owned competing sites.
Google asserts that ShopCity sites are low in the ranking because…well, they are basically bad sites. While ShopCity admits they are still working on building several of their sites (meaning they know their sites are rotten), many of the sites in the Bay Area, like ShopPaloAlto and ShopPleasanton, are alive and stuffed full of helpful and legitimate information. They believe those sites should be higher up in the rankings, as they are on Yahoo!
“Search industry expert Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, said such suspicions about a site as small as ShopPaloAlto.com are “ludicrous. If that was what (Google) was worried about, you would never find Yelp,” a formidable competitor for Google that offers restaurant reviews and business listings, Sullivan said. But Sullivan said Google should be able to differentiate between higher-quality ShopCity sites such as the Bay Area sites, and placeholder sites waiting until ShopCity makes partnerships with local groups for listings.”
Is ShopCity going to be just another flea on Google’s back, or will something come from their claims? Coincidentally, after the FTC inquiry was announced, ShopCity’s Bay Area sites jumped in Google rankings, causing a 400% increase in traffic, but then plummeted back to page seven of search results after only three weeks. A Google imposed penalty for outside complaints if the official explanation.
Catherine Lamsfuss, August 5, 2011
Sponsored by Quasar CA, your source for informed financial advisory services