Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Fixing Yahoo: The First Step Is Others Admitting You Have a Problem

I got a lot of great response to this post I did yesterday about starting on a blogging journey to figure out what to do at Yahoo.


So before I get all blabby–and I will, my friends–here’s some ideas I got over the transom for helping the Internet giant find its way back to a more stable and sober life.

Brett Bullington, former Excite exec and well-known investor, looked backward:

I think where they went astray, which was awhile back, is they see themselves more as a media company than a tech or applications company (Excite had this issue, too). The reality is that they are an applications company that wraps media or content (professional, user-contributed, etc.) into a way that allows it to be used broadly and efficiently by the user. Subtle but major difference in the approach and who you cater to. Google clearly understands this better than anyone.”

Om Malik looked to baseball for inspiration in this recent post he flagged to me, looking at discouraging traffic and visitor trends at Yahoo as trouble for its momentum ahead.

The management shuffle aside, Yahoo has a bigger problem on its hands: the traffic, be it search or total visits, is beginning to resemble New York Yankees in the Major League Baseball rankings.”

Eric Frenchman, whom I quoted from his blog, Pardon My French (he could obviously not resist), made a point I have also made before and heartily agree with:

I think their No. 1 strategy should be trying to put Overture back together with MSN. The two can’t stand alone versus Google, but by combining MSN’s conversion know-how with Yahoo’s traffic they can give Google a run for their money.”

Bill Bucy, in the comments, noted an important issue to think about–public image. It’s not so good right now and needs to be, he wrote:

Interesting you mentioned PR as one area you’ll be looking at, because I think it will be a key function going forward. Not even the best PR maven can say something’s white when it’s black. But I haven’t seen much, if any, evidence of strategic thinking in the company’s communications. I think the [ganging up] on the Wenda Harris Millard situation is clear evidence of that.”

And Ashkan Karbasfrooshan sent me a series of links to posts from his blog, WatchMojo.com about Yahoo, in which he mused on a wide range of ideas, such as being bought by a private equity firm, merging with eBay, links with the younger and hotter (MySpace and Facebook, of course). I thought this was smart:

Ideally, Yahoo should remain patient, but its investors will continue to bail if they keep suffering from Google-envy. And that is the cost of remaining public. Increasingly, they’ll wonder why not accept MSFT’s $50B offer, and truth is, there’s no real guarantee that this was even ever offered or will be again in the future.”

In other words: Yahoo outlook, as usual: Cloudy with a chance of more clouds.

So let’s see in the coming months if we can begin to find a bit clearer skies.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik