Swisher: Yahoo Should Sell Search Marketing

    December 21, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

With Yahoo being on the sidelines while Microsoft scooped up Viacom’s graphical ad serving needs (and booted out DoubleClick in the process), Kara Swisher think Jerry Yang should make a sale.

For years, Yahoo dominated display ad sales. Their business pulled in name brands from all over the corporate world.

Chinks in the armor began appearing through 2006, and the field of ad serving heated up dramatically in 2007. Microsoft, WPP, Google, and Yahoo all made various plays for third party ad networks.

To muscle past this competition, which will be serving display ads all over the Internet, Swisher wrote at All Things D that Yahoo needs to take a bold step at streamlining its business.

"Yahoo’s game in the future is not in the monetization of search, which Google dominates, but in turbocharging its graphical and video ad business, an area in which it has the best shot at differentiating itself," said Swisher.

To gain in multimedia ads, Swisher thinks Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang needs to be "bold enough" to sell off a certain piece of the company:

(Y)ou almost want Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang to get while the getting is good and auction off his company’s crown jewel – its search monetization business – to the highest bidder.

If that was the case, if Yang was bold enough to do it and willing to swallow a little pride, I would think we haven’t nearly begun to see just how high both Google and Microsoft can bid.

Microsoft and Google should be dead certain to entertain bidding for that crown jewel, should Yang succumb to temptation, sell it off, and let another company run Yahoo’s contextual search ads.

We wonder if Martin Sorrell might be tempted by a Yahoo search auction. His WPP Group spent $650 million on 24/7 Real Media, making WPP a player in the ad serving game. What if Sorrell were to decide he needed a contextual component for his business?