I had no intentions of making another post today because I have several lined up, but with the news of Yahoo's Reorganization and several high level departures, I can't resist one more post. You can read the official press release, CEO Terry Semel's blog post, or wait a little longer in the day for links to several other blogs commenting on the story. Personally, the other blogs didn't add too much, but the best one I saw was Om Malik's Yahoo Reorg or Retread; not that I agree with everything that Om wrote but at least he added to the discussion. Speaking of adding to the discussion....
I've bought tens of millions of dollars worth of advertising on Yahoo over the past 6 years and continue to buy advertising on them. Why? In the finance category they are the #1 property, can reach targets using their behavioral modeling (Fusion) better than others, provide scale, huge branding opportunities, and low cost/high reach units. The account and sales team are the most professional around and if you know how to work with them it is very smooth process. Plus, the Finance team has always recommended and helped me navigate Yahoo's org structure when I wanted placements outside of their core area.
However, Yahoo is very big right now with many organizations. The streamlining in the reorganization hopefully will help; however, please don't start layoffs. It will just kill morale and from what I've seen in the Finance Group, you need more people not less. I also hope the reorg allows Yahoo to bring new products, processes, tools, and rationalize overlapping products already in their portfolio. Yahoo should be the leader and the #1 destination for all advertisers, not just Finance.
However, with the announcements of Dan Rosensweig and Lloyd Braun leaving (yes the name from Seinfeld) what was left unsaid was that as long as Yahoo's Chief Sales Officer Wenda Harris Millard is still leading their sales group, Yahoo will win in th e long run. I've spent some time with Dan R. at a Yahoo/Jack Welch dinner and met Yang and Semel, but I've spent a lot of time with Wenda over lunch, meetings, and even via email. Out of all the sales executives I've run across Wenda is the most professional one out there and if you read this AdAge article still has a lot of fight left for Yahoo.
The Ad Age article is pure Wenda as she comes out swinging and telling it like it is. Here are some quotes:
- ...defined the success of YouTube as "a lot of page views. What was their revenue this year?
- the reality is that there are very few companies (user generated content)-- if any -- that are doing what you would call a good job of monetizing it
- I have a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old, and they don't want to be [MySpace] friends with the Burger King king
- But the reality is we are a company that has grown at an extraordinary rate, and that doesn't come without questions about your ability to move with competitive speed.
That was pure Wenda and I wish I was there to see it when she delivered those messages. Maybe Yahoo's problems are that they aren't sexy enough for analysts any longer or they can't quite keep up with the growth expectations. Certainly not upgrading the old Overture Search platform is/was a critical mistake, but they have one ace in the hole unmatched at other online companies, which is their Sales Officer.