What should Marissa Mayer do with Yahoo?

In addition to their initiative with ad-serving – Google acquired YouTube, and the next thing you know, video is the most important growth area on the web; Google have access to terabytes of video content and an outlet for (a growing number of) new advertisers who are willing to try video ads and big brands who have TV or viral ads ready to go. Yahoo! acquired the world’s largest photo sharing site in 2005, Flickr – but would you know? And what have they done with it?

Google wrote on their blog in 2007 when they bought DoubleClick that “Historically, we’ve not allowed third parties to serve into Google’s AdSense network, which has made it hard for advertisers to get performance metrics. Together, Google and DoubleClick can deliver a more open platform for advertisers, and provide the metrics they need to manage marketing campaigns.” Google’s metrics and analysis tools for publishers and advertisers have been a key part of making this jigsaw fit together – remember, no-one had done this before – and Yahoo! and Microsoft failed in similar endeavors. The most interesting part of this 5 year old blog post is the phrase ‘a more open platform’. Google addressed this becuase they, up to that point didn’t allow 3rd party display ads. 

What if Yahoo! implemented a very open ad-platform? What if everyone, from part-time app developers to 3 person start-up digital agencies to multi-national ad buying companies can deliver ads in to the Yahoo! network? Deliver them via a white label, open platform that integrates analytics and ad-serving. Yahoo! could create something like iAd Producer (a de riguer cloud based version, of course) by Apple that makes it easy – even on your iPad or Android device – to create an ad, proof i, serve it and analyse it. They have lots and lots of content – Spotify included now – but 

Yahoo! has plenty of propositions for advertisers – from their new Genome audience targeting system to their vast library of what should be valuable content and of course they have and 2 different spins on analystics. Is it time now they thought about simplifying it? Condense it and market it. And think bigger and smaller. Think Bigger as in globally – it needs to be as easy for someone living in Iceland to join in as it is for someone in the US. And Think Smaller, as in more inclusive for small contributiors, publishers and advertisers. Do they realise how small advertisers feel when they see the in-house ad that says ‘If your budget is over ten thousand dollars a month, give us a call.’ So, less than that and I get an engaged tone? Yahoo’s Small business centre tells me all about signing up for Yahoo! and Bing – all under one account – I’ll make a note of that for later. Follow the links for submitting your (Y! Contributor Network) content to Associated Content and you end up learning about Yahoo! Voices. RightMedia, wrong message. Compare the advertising publisher message from Yahoo! and then see how Google pitch it. There really is likely to be only one winner there for a while.

I’m dreadful at maintaining my own website (and spill-checking) – but honestly – how have Yahoo! allowed their mesage to creep – no, sprawl into such a mish-mash of mixed and confusing messages, brands and propositions? 

It may be true that economy of scales rule in a global business – but Yahoo!, when they decide on a strategy and a suite of products,need to pitch it better – and foster smaller web businesses, for real, not just a friendly url – they can and do grow too. Marissa Mayer has a tricky eighteen months ahead – but she knows the drill, she’s seen it and done it, and something, something she’s seen, heard and learned about the possibilities within Yahoo! have made her switch boats. I’d like to know what. For the first time in years, today, I bookmarked Yahoo.com.

  1. Yahoo! corporate info
  2. Coverage at The Guardian : technology
  3. Wikpedia references: en.wikipedia.org/Marissa_Mayer 
  4. Marissa Mayer at makers.com


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