Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Ready, Set … Stream: Yahoo CEO Mayer Likely to Promise Better CPMs, Home Page, Mail and Search at Employee Confab

The Yahoo “act of radical transparency” meeting by new CEO Marissa Mayer — in which she will unveil to employees her plans to turn the Silicon Valley company around — is starting now.

Sources said it will be streamed instead of being Webcast, as usual, in order to avoid possible downloading (and, presumably, leaks). It’s also unlikely that she’ll hand out the deck of the strategy she presented to the board last week to everyone, for the same leak-avoiding reasons.

(Hey, Yahoos, those new smartphones Mayer just handed out to all have great cameras these days and Instagram can make dull photos pretty via filters — just sayin’!)

But, according to numerous sources, she’ll show off plans for a radically designed home page, with fewer ads and more open to apps and sharing; better email and search; and a doubling down on Yahoo’s most powerful properties.

What she will not talk about are any possible layoffs, said sources. Instead, Mayer will focus on squeezing more money from its businesses, including generating much higher CPMs, or cost per thousand ad impressions.

That’s easier said than done, but Mayer apparently believes that Yahoo’s weakness on its ad platforms can be turned around. (It is an idea that has long been pushed by Yahoo techies Scott Burke and Shashi Seth, said sources.)

We’ll see about that, as well as if Mayer will tell investors how Yahoo will distribute its cash windfall from the recent sale of its lucrative Alibaba assets. Mayer said last week that she will return billions to shareholders, scotching a plan to keep it all for the company. The likely vehicle for the return of money will be via stock buybacks.

One interesting note: Sources said Mayer involved very few senior staff in crafting the plan, which she is about to unveil.

More to come, obvi.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work