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Is Yahoo Poised For A Search Comeback?

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Is Yahoo Poised For A Search Comeback?
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Yahoo released its earnings report for Q4 and the full year 2012. The report was better than many analysts had expected, and this was helped significantly by better-than-expected search performance from the company who has outsourced its search back-end to Bing.

Here are the search highlights from the release:

  • GAAP search revenue was $482 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4 percent increase compared to $465 million for the fourth quarter of 2011. GAAP search revenue was $1,886 million for the full year of 2012, a 2 percent increase compared to $1,853 million for the prior year.
  • Search revenue ex-TAC was $427 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, a 14 percent increase compared to $376 million for the fourth quarter of 2011. Search revenue ex-TAC was $1,611 million for the full year of 2012, a 9 percent increase compared to $1,478 millionfor the prior year.
  • Paid clicks, or the number of clicks on sponsored listings on Yahoo! Properties and Affiliate sites, increased approximately 11 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 and increased approximately 8 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012.
  • Price-per-click increased approximately 1 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 and decreased approximately 2 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012.

During a conference call following the report’s release, CEO Marissa Mayer, a major player in Google’s search efforts over the years, indicated that search is a big priority for the former king of search engines. Wired quotes her:

“Overall in search, it’s a key area of investment for us,” Mayer said. “We need to invest in a lot of interface improvements. All of the innovations in search are going to happen at the user interface level moving forward and we need to invest in those features both on the desktop and on mobile and I think both ultimately will be key plays for us.”

“We have a big investment we want to make and a big push on search. We have lost some share in recent years and we’d like to regain some of that share and we have some ideas as to how.”

Despite rumors that have been whispered throughout the industry from time to time, there’s nothing here to suggest that Yahoo and Bing will be breaking its deal off prematurely, as Mayer seems much more concerned with the front end. It will be interesting to see what becomes of it.

The company has already been pushing out a redesigned home page to users (though we’ve seen more complaints than praise).

Can Yahoo make a comeback in search? What do you think?

Is Yahoo Poised For A Search Comeback?
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