Yahoo and Its Unfortunate Demise

The future doesn't look promising for the former leading Internet company

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What happened to Yahoo? The Internet company that used to be feared by the likes of Google and Microsoft is now said to be dying. Yahoo’s recent years have brought it a search deal with its longtime competitor Microsoft, multiple changes with management, massive layoffs, and the shut down of many properties.

Is there one event that stands out in your mind that began Yahoo’s fall? Please share your thoughts.

Sage Lewis of SageRock Digital Marketing Agency spoke to WebProNews after he wrote a compelling post about the death of Yahoo. He told us that, while he doesn’t blame the demise on a single event, the incident involving the Chinese reporter that was sentenced to prison after Yahoo turned over his email messages to the Chinese government disturbed him.

When then-CEO Jerry Yang testified at the congressional hearings shortly after the China ordeal, Lewis said, at that point, he realized that Yahoo was “closed-down, vision-less, and cowardly.”

As mentioned earlier, Yahoo has made extensive cuts in its talent pool and properties in order to focus on its “core strengths.” While most businesses can identify with this way of thinking, the circumstances surrounding Yahoo seem to be different. According to Lewis, successful Internet companies take risks, innovate, and even though they fail sometimes, they aren’t afraid to try.

“You don’t get a sense that they’re [Yahoo] trying… as you see them make moves, or make changes, they seem tepid to me. They seem minor and, once again, conservative,” he said.

He further said that he is surprised that Flickr and Yahoo Site Explorer still exist. On that note, Yahoo also announced that its search marketing blog would be closing at the end of this month.

Although the finger of blame can be pointed in many directions, Lewis credits part of the problem to the internal culture of Yahoo. It still has a lot of intelligent people, but it doesn’t appear to have the same ambition that its rivals have.

“Nobody is feeling great about Yahoo except maybe the top executives and some lawyers,” he pointed out.

Even with Microsoft as the underdog in search, Lewis said you could tell that it is excited and motivated about its projects. Yahoo, on the contrary, doesn’t make this same impression on people.

In order for the company to turn around, he said, “There would have to be this complete shift from the top of change and optimism and hope and love… love of what they do.”

As for current CEO Carol Bartz, he believes she will be gone within the next year to 18 months.

Yahoo and Its Unfortunate Demise
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  • India

    At this time they could kill Google if they wanted to if they’d only use their heads. Google hate is at an all time high right now. Yahoo is just sleeping at the wheel. Three things they could do:

    – Start firing the closed minded. Start hiring fresh, innovative blood.
    – Start communicating with webmasters (this is a must) and indexing the web. Webmasters are their salvation at this point, not the searchers. Webmasterworld needs to be talking about them. Webmasterworld.com made Google what it is today.
    – Start their own Adwords/Adsense program. A good one.
    – Partner with celebrities. 10 million for Lady Gaga to do as she wishes on Yahoo’s front page. Let her post messages to her “little monsters” right on yahoo.com front page, next to the search box. This would pull millions of users their way. This chick pulls a sick cult.
    – Have a clean 1998 Google look on yahoo.com. Small links to their other properties. Celebrity space next to the search box.
    – They need a “Dude you got a dell” type of kid on tv hammering the Yahoo message with an easy to understand message.

    Their marketing department is dead, slept at the wheel. Same as Bing’s. Their advertisements are boring, stupid and take a rocket scientist to understand what the heck is they are advertising. They don’t think out of the box.

    • India

      Oops! Meant “few things they could do” not “three things”.

  • kev

    As a older person (40) I still use yahoo and I like using yahoo services they or should have done what Google did and started a mobile os they could’ve bought meego and made yahoo apps for it yahoo chat is good they have a lot of other core features that they could bring to the table the CEO sucks and they should’ve dumped her two years ago

  • http://www.clearsense.se Gustav

    Is it just me but doesn’t he come off as slightly stoned…
    Yahoo is restructuring, do one thing good and focus on that – It’s a concept that works.

    Corporate culture aside, revenue is what allows a good culture to exist. When revenue goes down – focus areas becomes more clear and necessary to save core business and Yahoo.

    Nothing strange with this at all.

  • http://www.moxby.org.uk Martin Oxby – Custom Web Design

    Personally, I think that Yahoo tried to do everything – news, gossip, stocks oh… and search. And to that degree I find that it has lost its focus.

    Google’s focus is on Search and Search-related Advertising revenue. Bing (via Microsoft) focusses on Search. Bing is separate to other Microsoft activities in the eyes of the user and maybe if Yahoo had invested more in search and seemed to focus on it then that would have helped.

    facebook.com/yahoo” rel=”nofollow”>Yahoo’s Facebook Page and the stream that comes through on the wall is not about their latest technological advances, but usually some ‘celebrity gossip’.

    Maybe they should have gone back to basics and instead of trying to be some quasi-news organisation, actually focussed on what got them established; the core products of search and mail and build from a useful and productive base.

    It’s a case of being spread too thinly and not being able to do much very well rather than specialising and being excellent at a few things.

  • http://startpage.thecustomeradvantage.com Charles Belanger

    I have att Yahoo DSL So that is also my homepage. The top news storys are a joke. About 75% fluff and celeb crap. Yahoo video just sucks. And when I do want to comment on a story I have to sign in all the time.
    The one thing I did like was the local TV listings. TV guide dot com is a clunky browser crashing popup crazy pain in the A$$. But Yahoo had a good clean ,fast and easy to use TV listing page. But now thats
    gone. WHY? I dont know?

  • http://www.rcmleads.com Rich

    I did not know Yahoo was in so much trouble. We should have a focus on Google I guess.

  • http://www.easmyoplex.net Fairy Arcilla

    Terrific paintings! This is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Shame on the seek for no longer positioning this put up upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thank you =)

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