Yahoo and Its Unfortunate Demise

    May 19, 2011

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.