It’s Tough Being Yahoo

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I like Yahoo… always have, and it’s tough to see their fortunes continue to flag. Their recent Q4 projections underwhelmed the Street, they projected a tad over 1 billion, sadly the analysts were looking for something closer to 1.25. The brightest spot on their cloudy horizon isn’t even in the US… it’s the Amazon of China Alibaba of which they own 24 percent. If the Alibaba IPO goes as well as anticipated, it will bolster Yahoo’s numbers nicely. Apart from that, Yahoo continues to languish… snapping up cute baubles at what appears to be almost any price without those acquisitions materially moving the numbers.

They have done relatively well this year pulling off a close to 70% rise in value, but their core problem remains that the big search money goes to Google and Facebook is killing it with display and social. Google has made a good run at forcing people to use Google+ with sheer brute force, dragging their integrated social play into relevance, despite the wishes of it’s audience who really didn’t want it.

Sadly, Yahoo missed the social boat… and the twitter boat, the RTB display, and even the search boat. In fact, they have missed a flotilla of opportunities in recent years. For the biggest thing in the Yahoo story to be their ownership of a Chinese eCom giant is frankly a bit sad. Despite all these clouds on their horizon, they remain the largest single inline property with a strong brand and some very strong properties.  Yahoo clearly sees all things mobile as a possible route to salvation, as users migrate to mobile engagement at a more rapid rate that anyone predicted. If Yahoo can become the key providers for digital content across their own apps and mobile properties, then that may be a strategy with legs… we will see.

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