Kara Swisher

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Actual News on Earnings Call: Yahoo Disables Annoying "Hover" Tool on Homepage, Restructures International Ops

News was actually committed during Yahoo’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call today when CEO Carol Bartz noted that the company would disable its irksome “hover interaction” on the homepage and that the Internet giant has restructured its international business.

Yahoo (YHOO) reported results earlier today that slightly exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter, but it was no blowout.

Said a Yahoo spokeswoman in an email to BoomTown about dumping the hover:

“We are in the process of making a change to the hover interaction and it should be live in all markets that have the new homepage by late tonight. To give people more control over their experience, we are adding the ability to select from either a ‘hover’ or ‘click’ interaction for activating previews of apps in the My Favorites section. The default setting will be a click interaction, but people can also use a hover interaction by selecting that option as their default preference. You should see this change on your own homepage very soon.”

The hover feature, while initially touted as giving users easy access to widgets on the homepage, has been widely decried by advertisers because it essentially covers other ads at the top of the page, which are Yahoo’s most lucrative inventory.

Also, simply put, the hover is super-annoying.

Back in July when Yahoo rolled out the new homepage design, though, the company was high on the hover. (You can see it in action below; click on the image to make it larger.)

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This was the most striking change in the homepage overhaul, in fact, featuring a prominent My Favorites area on the left side with dozens of specially designed applications–email, stocks and third-party sites like Facebook, among others–that users could customize and view through quick hovering glimpses.

Advertising popped up when hovering over the apps, which was Yahoo’s solution to the alternative of sending users away from the site when they clicked the apps.

In addition, Bartz said in the call that Yahoo’s international operations would be rejiggered, after an ultimately fruitless search for a new head of the unit. Bartz said she had not been able to find a qualified exec to run international, so she decided to change the set-up.

International ops will be reduced from four regions to three–Americas; Europe, Middle East, Africa; and Asia Pacific–with Emerging Markets tucked into them.

They will report to Bartz directly–with current Emerging Markets head Keith Nilsson taking the job of Global Initiatives SVP, also reporting to her.

Wrote another Yahoo spokeswoman:

“Yahoo! has reorganized our regions to strengthen focus on emerging countries, and to align company-wide resources and expertise against the company’s vision to be the center of people’s online lives. Effective April 1, the structure will be made up of three regions: The Americas, EMEA and APAC. Our Emerging Markets region, formerly separate, will be absorbed into these new regions to better support our work in countries with large and growing Internet populations. Yahoo! is making a further commitment to its global customers with the creation of a Global Initiatives SVP, reporting directly to Carol Bartz, CEO, focused on supporting global relationships and alliances.”

Rose Tsou heads up APAC, Rich Riley runs EMEA and Hilary Schneider helms the Americas.


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