As I have said in other posts, I like Yahoo and always have. As Google went from goofy to scary, Yahoo stayed approachable and business friendly. However, during recent years, Yahoo has missed more boats than a ferry passenger with a faulty alarm clock. As mobile and social exploded, they sat on the sidelines. A decade ago, they were the leader in search, and now they run a distant third. Even with those missteps they have remained one of the most powerful online brands and maintain dominance in several key verticals like sports and news.
I have lost count of how many CEOs they have had over the last couple of years. It might be as many as half a dozen. So, I read with interest the reports that Yahoo has recruited none other than Marissa Mayer from the Google-plex to head up Yahoo. It’s quite a coup. Mayer ran search as search at Google grew to become a powerhouse. She was involved with Google+ and all things location based. In theory, she has the product smarts to really pull the ailing giant together.
The question is, does she have the high-level business experience to take on such a huge job (in addition to becoming a new mom by Halloween).
I wish her nothing but good luck, which she will no doubt need to take on such a massive task. If I could lobby for something, I’d plead for a real local strategy at Yahoo. Local has been somewhat rudderless for a while. The concern is that compared with news or sports, local will continue to be the red headed stepchild at Yahoo. Every indicator points to local and mobile being crucial to so much online growth in the near future, yet Yahoo to date has played a minimal role.
The great thing about local is that it makes money. Social media is much harder to monetize. So, Marissa, by all means do sports, do news and try social. But please focus on local/mobile. It is where the money is, and we are in desperate need of a true local leader.