…the general atmosphere resembles that of Napoleon’s Grande Armee during its disastrous retreat from Moscow…
It can’t be easy for Yahoo!, the Internet’s most durable portal, to
play Pepsi to Google’s Coke. But if Yahoo! continues to fall further
behind Google in ad sales, the company may find itself stuck a
perennial second–or worse. With its stock down 36% last year and ad
sales failing to keep up with Google’s, Yahoo!’s reputation has
suffered as Google’s stock has soared.
So Yahoo! is in the midst
of a massive reorganization to focus on what matters: wringing more
money from its ads and more time from its community. That hasn’t been
easy for a company that has divided its attention among dozens of
products and services. “Yahoo! is many things to so many people,
whereas the beauty of Google is that at the end of the day, it’s search
done well,” says Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing Group, an ad
Ouch. This is going to leave a mark. They’re getting called out by Time magazine (of the perpetually downsizing TW/AOL), and is there really anyone out there that doesn’t see the WB schadenfreude fingerprints on the dagger thrust into the back of former WB honcho Terry Semel? And maybe a bit of payback from the AOL weenies?
Nah, this is a nasty corporate hit piece.
Can’t be fun. Every goddam day, they’re getting beaten like a gong, Google is Wall Street’s darling, and the much-hyped Panama ad platform keeps getting delayed.
CEO Terry Semel had downplayed the system’s repeated postponements,
calling Panama an undertaking as big as any product launch ever. But
there was a price to pay for the delay. “A lot of people [at Yahoo!]
feel abused by the outside world and its perception of the company,”
says Ellen Siminoff, one of Yahoo!’s founding executives, who heads
search-advertising agency Efficient Frontier. “They have missed a few
quarters this year, they have lowered expectations, they were late in
delivering Panama, and so they’re in the penalty box with Wall Street.”
Meanwhile, the company flounders and flails, trying to figure what the hell it is. I’ve written before about Yahoo Music and what a pain in the ass it is to deal with. Every other goddam week, there’s some kind of critical security update for it, because some script kiddie has figured out how to pirate the streams and they’re sticking so many patches on it, that it looks like a lifeboat as fixed by a 4-year-old with an unlimited supply of Teletubbies stickers and a Ritalin IV.
Which, actually, is not a bad description of the Yahoo Board of Directors. A friend of mine who works there described seeing computer monitors and Blackberries being hurled out of executive office doors, accompanied by rageful screaming, when the whole YouTube merger went down.
Best that Yahoo can hope for is that they’ll provide enough of an alternative to Google that big advertisers, pissed at the rampant clickfraud, start shifting their money to Yahoo as a way of putting the vise on Google. Otherwise, they might as well just start issuing press releases touting new products every other week, hoping to muddy the waters enough so as to introduce uncertainty to the market, and buy themselves enough room so they can unload their share options before the fund managers start figuring out that they’ve been lazing on deck chairs on the latest dot-com Titanic. Sort of a cyber-scorched earth policy, if you will:
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