Who Killed Yahoo!!!

By on November 12, 2012

I remember those childhood days when i used to go around to browsing cafes to just browse the website, get into yahoo games for chess and the infamous their chat and their chat groups. I still remember pinging people around with ASL [ Age, Sex and Location]. Those days were awesome as internet was still growing among people and those classic browsing centers and browsers.

Yahoo is dead as a driver of online advertising revenue and innovation next to giants such as Google and budding giants such as Facebook, which has blown past Yahoo in revenues without so much as a passing glance. And if you’re not driving this business, you’re quickly under somebody else’s wheels. So, here’s a capsule summary and what and who killed Yahoo–and what, if anything, it will take to resuscitate it:

What makes Yahoo is Dead?

* Larry Page and Sergey Brin: While the cofounders of Google no doubt didn’t set out to kill Yahoo, it is the rise of search advertising as much as anything that stalled Yahoo’s growth engine. Fact is, search ads work better, at least for spurring direct sales, than display ads. Yahoo realized this fairly early on, but it failed to move fast enough to do what could have beaten Google: Combine the direct response of search with the brand-building of display into a coherent online whole. Yahoo’s best shot would be to jump to the next shift in online ads, but unfortunately, someone has already beat it there….

* Mark Zuckerberg: The cofounder and CEO of Facebook surely didn’t set out to kill Yahoo either, since by the time Facebook took off, Yahoo was already well into its decline. But it stole the display-ad leadership from Yahoo last year, and there’s no chance Yahoo will get it back. More than that, Facebook is deep into multiple iterations of socially infused ads. It’s hard to see how Yahoo, which has even less to offer in social networking than Google, can catch up in what may be the next generation of online ads.

* All those Yahoo CEOs, from Tim Koogle to Terry Semel to Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang to Carol Bartz. Each of them had plenty of chances to focus Yahoo on something–anything!–but failed to choose. Neither Semel nor Yang seemed to understand the emerging new world of technology services-as-media. Neither did Bartz, whose almost forced decision to offload search to Microsoft didn’t pay off. Thus they doomed Yahoo to failure at the hands of companies that did one or two things far better.

* Yahoo’s board: There’s an entire book to be written, probably by AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, about how dysfunctional Yahoo’s board has been over the years. But the worst move and probably the death knell for the Yahoo brand was not only rebuffing a very generous buyout offer from Microsoft in 2008, but failing to make a quick decision on what to focus on instead. The board wasted years of opportunity trying to do everything and doing nothing well, or to be fair, not well enough–all the while snubbing shareholders who for some reason stuck with the company. That’s why it’s a good thing that the board has been given a good shakeup recently, but it’s not clear that it’s enough.

But make no mistake: Yahoo isn’t a turnaround play. It’s a patient whose heart has stopped. Yahoo doesn’t just need better CPMs or CPCs. It needs CPR, stat. Clear!

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