How would you Yahoo?

Following up on the post below, I’m writing my Guardian column this week on Yahoo and so I wonder: What would you do with it if you were in charge?

: LATER: If I were a Yahoo stockholder or employee I’d be nervous about this gobbledygook from Jerry Yang:

“My immediate and overarching priorities are to realise Yahoo!’s strategic vision by accelerating execution, further strengthening our leadership team and fostering an even stronger culture of winning,” said Mr Yang, making it clear future changes are planned.

That sounds like the produce of a random buzz generator.

More claptrap in Yang’s letter to the staff:

What is that vision? A Yahoo! that executes with speed, clarity and discipline. A Yahoo! that increases its focus on differentiating its products and investing in creativity and innovation. A Yahoo! that better monetizes its audience. A Yahoo! whose great talent is galvanized to address its challenges. And a Yahoo! that is better focused on what’s important to its users, customers, and employees.

What the hell does that mean?

  • Unlike you, Jeff, I use Yahoo! daily since I use it for my personal e-mail account.

    If I was in charge of Yahoo!, I would offer — not require — the ability to users to better integrate their accounts with Yahoo! properties. An interface that combines my mail,, flickr, and MyBlogLog account information/activity in one place would make me happy.

  • In the history of search engine companies – the service of classifying diverse sources is a step to self-publishing location-rooted knowledge which by its nature is distributed and frequently changing. This is why networks like Google are moving into API world models with geo photos, KML, mashups as a teaser. Perhaps YahooNeo (or the next Internet engine company) will begin by connecting everything with place and time fundamentally. A new Earth and Epoch view could easily dwarf the Google Earth.

  • JamesUK

    I’d tell Yahoo to stop trying to do everything themselves and learn to work better with their enemies, both giving and taking. They’ll never be Google so shouldn’t try. I’d let other people use/develop Yahoo’s products, let users customise their Yahoo homepage to include content or widgets from other providers (a la Netvibes) and stop making Flickr users etc need a Yahoo ID.

    Ajax and Flex are making all this do-able. Yahoo’s old school thinking is all that’s blocking it.

  • docsanchez

    Sell off some assets to get back to the core. What the hell is “Yahoo!” anyway? They were a directory service but now I have no idea what they are other than a collection of random things that don’t integrate (this is the main way I think Google is “better”). It seems like they bought things because they were cool and now that most of those parts of the company are tired and old they still hold onto them. Be a media company dammit and don’t be afraid to sell off the units that are holding you down. Now figure out what your brand is – you are more than just a funny logo and a cowboy singing “Yahoooo-o-ooo” right?

  • Harry

    Yang’s missives are a strong “sell” signal for Yahoo stock——all those cliches, all that convoluted mush tells you their new CEO doesn’t have a clue what’s wrong or how to fix it.

    Yahoo is going to be the InfoSeek of the 21st century.

  • chico haas

    In the long term, the backlash against Google will be in the areas of size and privacy. Since the marketing of footprints will grow only more lucrative, the search engine that serves you without selling you out will become the rebel darling.

  • I’m still a Yahoo going to My.Yahoo everyday, but everything there needs an upgrade.

    Yahoo Sports is the best offering they have, but few know it.

    Yahoo could easly be a better Twitter and facebook.

    Their video search is fantastic their RSS reader knows when I include a video in a blog post, not even Google can do that.
    They should open a NYC office and hire me.

  • For digitallantern: Go to FlashEarth and check it out…Yahoo features an alternative mapping function there, along with Google. They’re already onboard…but a long way from complete.

    Yahoo is a Portal. Pure and simple. They began that way, and they should continue to develop as a portal. Their email service is excellent – their recent promises are to make it totally awesome by REMOVING any storage limits. I have a little trouble believing that, but that’s just me, I guess. Over the past decade, however they’ve developed a habit of fumbling the ball. Firstly, they were great at community-building with the Yahoo Clubs, which even offered individual chatrooms with each club…but then they AXED the clubs and shifted the communities over to the Yahoo GROUPS, which essentially suck by comparison – lacking any chat capability and offering a few better file storage options.

    IF I WERE IN CHARGE OF YAHOO…I would resurrect the Yahoo CLUBS and see to it that the ‘Yahoo’ who was responsible for AXING the Yahoo Clubs initially was not FIRED, but DEMOTED to parking lot security…without a health plan… I would put the main emphasis back on community building and use THAT as the springboard for increasing their advertising revenue – if you have a hot product, nobody is going to care about a few extra banner ads here or there.

  • “What the hell does that mean?” — I don’t know, it seems pretty clear to me to be honest.

    “A Yahoo! that executes with speed, clarity and discipline.” — who wouldn’t want a company to run like that?

    “A Yahoo! that increases its focus on differentiating its products…” — differentiating both from itself (yahoo photos vs. flickr” and other companies (cough, cough – Google)

    “…and investing in creativity and innovation” — will continue to try new things and pick up companies that are doing new things (flickr, delicious, etc.)

    “A Yahoo! that better monetizes its audience.” — while I hate that M-word, he makes some sense here. Lost as you might think they are, they still have a ton of people using the site in one form or another.

    “A Yahoo! whose great talent is galvanized to address its challenges.” — ok, that’s bullshit.

    “And a Yahoo! that is better focused on what’s important to its users, customers, and employees.” — what could be wrong with that?

    I still use Yahoo and its services (flickr/delicious) quite a bit and I’ve always been pulling for them as the anti-Google. And I’m not just saying that b/c the future wife is sitting in Yahoo! Orientation right now : )

  • Tex Lovera

    OK, you can make sense of a little of what Yang said, but some of those comments – Dear God!

    And comments such as “A Yahoo! that executes with speed, clarity and discipline” , or “a Yahoo! that is better focused on what’s important to its users, customers, and employees”…….well, DUH!!!!!!!!!!

    If you believe Rupert’s gonna buy Yahoo out, hold it. Otherwise, dump it.