Yahoo Earnings, Panama, and Integration

January 24, 2007   

I've read through the announcement, some reporting and blog articles, and it seems to be pretty upbeat for this downtrodden company. Panama is indeed implemented (my account was upgraded this week) and their new algorithm (which give preference to "effective" ads, not just the highest bidder) should increase ad clicks and thus revenue. What people aren't considering as much as I imagined is how much this also enhances user experience. Users like relevant ads, not just relevant results, and so loyalty to the search engine should benefit. So it's good to hear they're getting things on track... I was a bit confused by their '07 predictions (they were worse than analysts expected). I agree with analysts who point out that many advertisers may cut back on their YHOO budget as they learn the new system, and most importantly, Yahoo! proves that it's bug free. In this business it's so easy to go over to Google and up your spending limit while Panama is tested, which provides a legit danger to the company (and benefit for Google!), but in the end I think Panama will attract more high spending advertisers to its records, as its new sophistication favors high end campaigns which are well written and targeted.

On the table now, I believe, is the question of integration of their most recent acquisitions. Everyone stumbles on integration, and before the question of "how well" they integrate (let's hope they learned from their Overture mistakes) is "if" they want to integrate. With Yahoo! being decidedly uncool, are they concerned about making "" Yahoo! branded, or are they just incompetent? Will Bix be a Yahoo product? Will it even be a Flickr product? It comes to a point when you have to wonder if all these "cool" things, if branded as Yahoo! things, would actually help Yahoo!'s overall image.

Maybe they'll just wait and see what Google does with YouTube (brand integration still up in the air) and take their lead, as they seem to do with everything else.

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