A Yahoo! that better monetizes its audience

by Sachin Balagopalan on June 19, 2007 · Comments

“A Yahoo! that better monetizes its audience” is one of the visions spelled out by Jerry Yang in his blog post today as he announced that he’s taking over the reigns from Terry Semel.

If you’re a search engine, advertising is your bread and butter and the word is that Panama, Yahoo’s advertising platform is not up to snuff and is pretty much being labeled a failure. Google has a far better service and has some pretty sophisticated algorithms that correlates the users search patterns with the type of ads displayed to the user. By all accounts Yahoo was unable to achieve that level of sophistication with Panama which for all intense and purposes ultimately led to Semel’s ousting. The main reason in my opinion for Panama’s failure is most of the top engineers who are capable of developing new search engine technologies left the company during the last six years. Without the geeks around, Semel was unable to fully execute the vision for a sophisticated ad platform that could compete with Google and Microsoft.

The good news is Jerry Yang can now refocus the company back into a technology innovator organization rather than a media/entertainment company which it evolved into during the Semel tenure. I don’t think Semel was able to connect with the developers/engineers like Yang can. Succinctly put, Semel was all about Hollywood and the media whereas Yang is all Silicon Valley. He (Yang) will be able to reignite the fire and get the ball rolling with the right designers and developers.

The bottom line IS the BOTTOM LINE. Ultimately it’s all about the shareholders. Jerry Yang and Susan Decker have to turn the company around and bring it closer to Google in terms of revenue which will in turn drive the stock price back up. Otherwise they will have to take a walk as well.


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