Reports of Yahoo’s Death Are Premature

yahoo-logoYahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer appears to be on course to turn around Yahoo, a company many took for dead not long ago. A review of recent interviews indicates Mayer’s vision for Yahoo “is about making the world’s daily habits more inspiring and entertaining.” Mayer also has been telling us that Yahoo is developing technology intended to personalize content from the Internet and make it accessible to people on their mobile devices.

Whatever she’s doing appears to be working. On January 28th Yahoo released its quarterly report, posting positive revenue growth for the first time in four years, surpassing Wall Street’s profit expectations.

“With the web becoming so vast, there’s so much content and there’s so much social context, and now with mobile, there’s so much location context and activity context,” Mayer said. “How do you pull it all together?” The answer appears to be the development of “a feed of information that is ordered, the Web is ordered for you and is also on your mobile phone.”

In a recent interview on Bloomberg TV Mayer discussed Yahoo’s mobile strategy.

I think that there’s a real opportunity to help guide people’s daily habits in terms of what content they read. That is something that we are really working on. All of these daily habits – news, sports, games, finance, search, mail, answers, groups – these are all things we have been under invested in. A little love will go a long way.

So the nice thing at Yahoo is that we have all of the content that people want on their phone, we have these daily habits. And I think that whenever you’re dealing with a daily habit and providing a lot of value around it, there is an opportunity not only to provide a lot of value to the end user, but to also create a great business.

Speaking of daily habits, Mayer isn’t shy about telling anyone who will listen, that Yahoo helps power searches made by Siri used by millions on their iPhones and iPads. Mayer makes it clear Yahoo will be aggressively seeking to improve its search results as part of its effort to improve performance again Google. Yahoo search is one part of the company Mayer has indicated is in urgent need of an upgrade, along with Yahoo Mail and the Yahoo.com homepage.

Where Yahoo goes from here is yet to be seen, but it’s feeling like the company is on an upward trend. Maybe I’ve just been suckered in by Mayer’s enthusiasm. What do you think?

About Brad Friedman

is president of The Friedman Group, LLC. We work with professionals and business owners to develop strategies and implement Inbound and Social Media marketing to enhance your brand and generate leads and revenue.
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7 Responses to Reports of Yahoo’s Death Are Premature

  1. Giuseppe says:

    Hi, this is just my thought.
    This web zero-dot-one dinosaurs, have two choices: slowly dying or trust in young people with real knowledge about what is the web nowadays. I guess that their management barely knows how really new techs work and above all:their potentials. How many pageviews are literally wasted with inconsistent campaigns.

    Also they still continue to behave like the words “user” and “engagement” were unknown, just like it was 1996.
    As you reported, they can just reach the inspiring and entertaining concepts, not brilliant at all.

    Also, their being still alive is partly a secondary effect of other products their websites are related to, such as internet connections, email services and so. Otherwise, without these products (operating system included) they would be accessed less than my blog.

    This is the real situation to me.

    Regards, good writing, thank for a place to say what i think.

    Ciao, Giuseppe

  2. Lauren @ AchieveIt says:

    This is very interesting, I can’t wait to see how this new technology affects SEO/Internet marketing.

  3. Stefan says:

    The only good thing about Yahoo is Flickr, and I appear to be one of the last enthusiastic users of that site. I don’t know what Yahoo’s purpose is anymore. Their new user interface is nicer than the last version, but it’s still a sprawling mess, usually with some sensationalistic news story at the center.

    • Stefan, I use Flickr too, so there’s at least two of us on that site! In many ways I agree with you. But, I really like this new CEO and feel good about the direction she is moving the company. Let’s see what happens.

  4. Jim Robins says:

    Yahoo may not be dying now but it probably should – and in the longer run, it probably will. Mayer’s “me too” strategy seems to be reducing the bleeding a bit, but Yahoo are making a much more serious mistake in the process. They have been woefully neglecting their core asset: the large installed base of mail users. The quality of Yahoo mail service has deteriorated at blinding speed.

    There are real switching costs associated with changing mail services, but the current unreliability of Yahoo mail will soon dwarf the negatives associated with dumping it. If you question this, simply read the multiple blogs with hundreds of complaints from Yahoo mail users. Too many of the comments begin “I have been a Yahoo mail user for more than ten years but I am now thinking about switching.”

    The bottom line is simple: without Yahoo mail, the company should be viewed as essentially worthless. Any realistic valuation of Tumblr makes it worth less than before the acquisition. What other assets does Yahoo have?

    Sometimes it is a good idea to remember business basics. Marissa Mayer has a great technical background. Pity she never studied business.

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