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Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2007 at 8:19 am

If You Were Yahoo’s New CEO…

By Bryan Eisenberg
June 19th, 2007

yahoo1.jpgWhat would you do?

My friend Andrew Goodman, in an open letter to Jerry Yang, was kind enough to offer a few suggestions. Do you have any ideas?

What would you focus on? Universal search? Local search? Mobile? Social Media networks? Helping advertisers achieve a greater ROI? Flickr-like acquisitions?

What are Google’s vulnerabilities? How could you capitalize on this? What will help restore shareholder value and the value of the brand in the eyes of the consumer, advertisers of all sizes and the stock market?

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Comments (5)

  1. If I were Chief Yahoo, as they say, I’d try to partner with Microsoft and buy Brightcove–which should’ve happened 6 months ago. Brightcove’s already closed deals with the likes of Warner Music Group (worth reading this post for differences between them and YouTube) and just sealed a big win with Fox, not to mention CBS, AOL, Dow Jones, etc.

    Brightcove’s strategy is much friendlier to content providers than YouTube’s; it’s more flexible and allows providers to brand their content wherever it goes, rather than dragging people back to YouTube. It also looks way cooler. :)

  2. The way I see it, Yahoo is a ‘portal’, Google is a ‘search engine’ and MSN Search is a ‘Windows(TM) feature’. I would guess that there are large segments within each company’s user base who are loyal to each site for those very reasons.

    In this respect I would be cautious of focusing too heavily on each others’ perceived vulnerabilities. Instead I would look more closely at what your users expect from you (in terms of value) and how to increase that value based on the answers to the previous question.

    That’s very simplistic, but I think it bears repeating since large corporate structures are sometimes so given to dramatics, (Think: Ballmer’s outbursts), that they loose focus.

    Besides, if *they* are having problems determining an effective way forward, it would be a shot in the dark for me to make recommendations without having access to their key internal metrics and insights.

  3. Some thoughts…

    1) Ensure Yahoo search is superior than Google search to consumers. Make all changes to get there. Don’t kid yourself — make it real differences that are clearly better in the real world.

    2) Unleash the mother of all campaigns to drive the above point home. Be bold. Put up a “Pepsi Challenge” page that allows consumers to easily see the advantage. Take no prisoners.

    3) Do everything possible to get nimble again. Eliminate everything that stands in your way of doing so, even if they are profitable. Have an attitude and kick some tail.

  4. A couple of thoughts. Google has always been careful to focus on the user while building a great search experience and an advertising platform.

    Yahoo on the other hand has focused on advertising revenues at the expense of the user experience and tries to direct you to its own content while serving you yet more ads. In other words, an old school portal.

    I see two opportunities for Yahoo to focus on. First mobile, as mobile is where we are going and secondly privacy, which is an issue users are increasingly concerned about.

    If Yahoo gave me a big clear button saying click to anonimize my search logs now, (in other words give people a clear choice whether to anonimize their logs or not) I believe many users would give Yahoo another chance.

  5. I would have hired the people of the same caliber as google has. And would have asked them to make yahoo’s algo better than google’s but still be flexible.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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