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Old 01-24-2006   #1
dannysullivan
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Yahoo: We're OK Being Number Two

Lots of talk showing up now about Yahoo's CFO saying that:

Quote:
It's not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share.
Comments from Steve Rubel here, the quote and more reaction from Bloomberg here and I posted comments as well on the blog here, where I say in part:

Quote:
As I said in the Bloomberg article, it still seems like you would want being number one as a goal, even if you think it may be unrealistic or one that will take a long time to achieve. Certainly saying you're number two to your employees and consumers isn't very inspiring. At least Avis put a spin on their embracing of being number two all those years ago, to say it was better for consumers because "We try harder."
Thoughts?
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Old 01-24-2006   #2
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I am not sure if it is a smart decision to make such a statement. Even if your business model's focus might be shifting away from search, you do not want to make an impression that it is not your main goal to be # 1. Forget about loyal Yahoo users but you also have responsibility for your share holders.

Also I do nt understand why Yahoo would give up being # 1, when the rest of the world market outside of US can still be considered a battle field for search.

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Old 01-24-2006   #3
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Sorry... but that sounds a bit mediocre to me. So sad.
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Old 01-24-2006   #4
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One disadvantage to being # 1 or "king of the hill" is that everyone wants to knock you off. We certainly see this with all the lawsuits Google has to constantly fend off.
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Old 01-24-2006   #5
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That was strange.

That was an unusual interview. I'd be curious to follow up and see if anyone can confirm that that's an official Yahoo viewpoint versus just an off-the-cuff set of remarks.

Yahoo has done a lot of smart stuff and is a strong competitor, so I'm not taking as this official word unless I heard some confirmation from another Yahoo person.
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Old 01-24-2006   #6
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good point!
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Old 01-24-2006   #7
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It would be easier to interpret such a statement as aimed at shareholders - namely, as looking to invest more efficiently in monetising their broader range of services, as opposed to less efficient investment in a single technology.

2c.
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Old 01-24-2006   #8
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I think it makes sense!

I mean, what is so bad about being number two anyway? Especially if getting to number one costs more than you make. For Yahoo to usurp Google on Search, how many millions in advertising would they need to spend? Would they get a good ROI? Do they really care, when there us plenty of money on the table elsewhere?

The Buffalo Bills, Bob Dole, The Bay City Rollers, Ghostbusters II, Yahoo. That is a pretty good almost exclusive list to be on, and a list many would fight moderately hard to get into
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Old 01-25-2006   #9
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Looks like Yahoo! are now distancing themselves from that remark... here's the latest entry in the Yahoo! Search Blog

Quote:
There's been a lot of conjecture and confusion today about Yahoo!'s commitment to being the world's best search engine........we thought it made sense to briefly recap how focused we are in search and our passion to be the world's leading search engine......

..... Believe it or not, we are still in the early days of search. As all of us at Yahoo! agree, we're in it for the long haul, and we're in it to win.

Qi Lu, VP Engineering, Search
Eckart Walther, VP Products, Search
http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000239.html
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Old 01-25-2006   #10
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Oh man! That is so bad. 4 points, none of them terribly convincing.

"1) less than two years ago we..." revisionist history! They actually bought all three major, non-Google, alternate SEs. I would hardly call starting with AllTheWeb starting out! What we all didn't think would happen was that the initial integration would go smoothly. Long term, I don't think anyone thought, with the starting point they had, yahoo wouldn't have a good SE by now. And they do

"2) The people working on Yahoo! Search are some of the smartest you'll find anywhere" "We hire smart people", I get it! But what, Google hire idiots?

"(3) We're continuously innovating". That's true. Google do something, and Yahoo "innovate" right behind them.

"4) we've turned Yahoo! Search into an open platform for innovative third-party developers." Which is why there are so many Google API tools, right?

Really, what a terribly dumb and naive response to a fruedian slip ofcorporate honesty! Surely it would have been better to say "Everyone thinks Google is the best, and that perception is hard to fight. We are happy being the best, even if no one recognises the fact, and feel no need to spend money chasing the perception of a few, when we don;t believe that would be productive".

Otherwise, it just reads like hollow sentiment. To me, at least!

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Old 01-25-2006   #11
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They could have gone the "our CFO was misquoted" excuse:

You know, something like - Susan didn't say: "We don't think it's reasonable to assume we're going to gain a lot of share from Google,"

They could have claimed Susan actually said (or meant to say): "We think it's reasonable to assume we're not going to gain a lot more shares from Google,"

Susan could have then continued "...Of course - Google gave us a lot of shares in their company before Google floated - which made our books look great. But I don't think Google will give us any more of their shares"



If that failed - then there's always the 'oops, sorry' excuse:

"Sorry, our CFO forgot. She forgot the tune. She meant to sing from the Yahoo! corporate book - but er - the cat pee'd on it - then she lost it..."

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Old 01-25-2006   #12
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Being #1 comes down to one thing.

A lot of chatter, and I was wondering why no one mentioned that being number one in search, or any other market comes down to one thing.

Provide the best product, at a fair value, without compromise.

You don't have to be the cheapest, you don't have to be the snazziest, you don't have to spend tens of billions of dollars on marketing...just come up with the best results.

Unfortunately, I think Yahoo has gotten away from that now that they are moving in so many "pay per" directions.

While I don't think that they should have come out and shared, that they are okay with being #2, I think they realize #2 is where they are at, and they don't plan on doing anything to improve their current product, that will make it stand above others that are in the market, including google.

I would love to know how much of their search group, comes from email users that signed on with them 8 years ago and don't feel like changing their email address.

I use google for one thing, and one thing only, search. I don't need email, I don't need games, I just need the information I'm looking for. And if Yahoo wants to compete in search, they'll need to make that a focal point of the efforts.
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Old 01-25-2006   #13
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Quote:
what is so bad about being number two anyway? Especially if getting to number one costs more than you make. For Yahoo to usurp Google on Search, how many millions in advertising would they need to spend? Would they get a good ROI? Do they really care, when there us plenty of money on the table elsewhere?
Would you mind sending that remark to Seattle? Just tell them to stay home. After all, what is so bad about being # 2? That way, the Stealers can just walk with the # 1 spot.

Nothing is wrong with the # 2 spot, as long as you are striving for the # 1 spot. Number 2 becomes a negative thing, when you are complacent with it. It means that you have begun your decline.

Everyone says stupid things, and unfortunately, sometimes someone is actually listening to us when we do. I will give them some slack, as I doubt they are truly giving up, but, if they are, that would be pitiful.
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Old 01-26-2006   #14
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Yahoo Search Blog, http://www.ysearchblog.com, refused this post "due to questionable content".

After reading the comments above and the comments on several forums, I just re-read the original post, "Are you Kidding". It's beautiful. It's inspiring. It's spin. It misses the point. I can only speak for myself, but I bet there are others who agree with the following (it is meant as constructive advice...I hope you take it that way):

I'm not interested in whether or not you think you've caught up with Google. I'm interested in what the market thinks. Based on the comments I've read, and the share of market stats I've seen, you haven't.

You don't have to tell me that you and Yahoo's other PhDs are smart. Any one who's ever used a search engine has to realize you guys are brilliant. In my opinion, you are unquestionably some of the smartest people in the world. (I'm very serious about this!)

I run a small business out of my house...4 of us are FT and we outsource some work to freelancers. I am not concerned about the hundreds of projects that you are working on to help make the world a better place in the future. (I wish you luck and hope you succeed, but...) What I'm concerned about is what happens on Yahoo when someone searches for one of my keywords today - 30 seconds from now.

I am only interested in what you are, not what you're going to be. My experience says you are a search engine that, unlike Google and MSN, indexes urls that haven't been on my site in over 3 years. One of your reps explained that this was because Ink had them, so that's the way it is. He told me to put 301s on them. I did. You ignore them.

I'm not 10% as smart as you are. But, I bet I have more real world business experience. If I were you, I'd spend less time working on building a spacecraft that will move cities to Pluto, and, instead, fix the flat on your car so you can go to the grocery store.
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Old 01-27-2006   #15
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I can't help but think that Susan may have been vocalized at the shareholders in a feeble attemt to dissuade them from pulling investments for a lack of meeting their goal.

They want to be #1, they aren't #1 and in fact may have not made the desired amount of progress that they depicted they would.

Maybe what they should have said is:
"We have plagiarized layout, look, feel and color scheme as much as possible and it is difficult for us to be innovative in the search arena when we are merely waiting to copy the next change"

I think that they know that they are missing that magical ingredient "loyalty" that stems from users love of the G philosophy. IMHO, of course.
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Old 01-27-2006   #16
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Anyone remember the old Avis commercials?

"We're Number 2. We Try Harder!"

http://www.buildingbrands.com/didyou...y_harder.shtml

That actually worked really well. But I don't think "We're Number 2. That's Good Enough" has the same catchy, shareholder and consumer pleasing message.

The statement might have been true, but it was definately a public relations nightmare. Oops.

<off topic>

While looking for the old Avis ad, I came across this site:

http://www.worldonfire.ca/

And had to share. If you have to blow you budget on a music video, this is the way to do it. Not bad marketing, either. Brilliant, actually.

</off topic>


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Old 01-27-2006   #17
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Yahoo - A#1 Email Company

What's the fuss, Yahoo?

Search makes up only 8% your total web traffic and that has been in decline since Sept. are you sure your even # 2 in search?

mail.yahoo.com - 48% search.yahoo.com - 8% news.yahoo.com - 5% login.yahoo.com - 3% yahoo.com - 2% bid.yahoo.com - 2% auctions.yahoo.com - 2% finance.yahoo.com - 2% kids.yahoo.com - 1% sports.yahoo.com - 1% store.yahoo.com - 1% personals.yahoo.com - 1% groups.yahoo.com - 1% photos.yahoo.com - 1% my.yahoo.com - 1% profiles.yahoo.com - 1% club.yahoo.com - 1% fantasysports.yahoo.com - 1% music.yahoo.com - 1% messages.yahoo.com - 1% games.yahoo.com - 1% stock.yahoo.com - 1% wrs.yahoo.com - 1% Other websites - 13%
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