Yahoo Surrenders Local

As I have mentioned in many previous posts I like Yahoo….I have always liked Yahoo. Back in the day when they were the cool kids complete with huge goofy purple chairs they didn’t let being wildly successful turn them into corporate monsters. They have famously had a horrible last few years with Google cleaning their clock in search and multiple other miss steps.  When Marissa Mayer assumed control it was clear that she had to pick the battles she was going to fight. Back when she joined in July I appealed to her from these very pages to put Local on her to “fix and focus on” list. I didn’t think for a moment she’d hear me (I’m not that delusional) but I was saddened a little to see in her recent discussions around Q3 results that Yahoo won’t be focusing on local going forwards.  It’s understandable, Yahoo local is broken. As one of the people who attempts to work with them on behalf of our clients they have been grinding to a halt recently. It would take an effort worthy of the New Deal to jump start the platform so it’s understandable that the resources might be further diverted from this red headed step child. Central to Yahoo’s Brave New World is (of course) mobile. Call me crazy but don’t local and mobile go together? The recent Apple Maps fiasco points at how hard it is to do maps and by adoption, local. Yahoo Local as a directory has been stuck without focus or a reason to thrive, and has missed the kind of location based innovation and reviews championed by FourSquare and Yelp. Could Yahoo have taken on local as a central part of their mobile strategy, probably. However if the end game for Yahoo is to land on the carrier deck of one of the other flag ships in the continuing online Battle of Midway being waged by Apple, Google and Microsoft it probably makes less sense to invest in something which could be improved with minimal cost by simply signing over the entire thing to another player like Bing.

A moment’s silence please in memory of Yahoo Local.

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