I know, I know you must be sick of these by now. I seriously have some other posts on the way (I'll stagger them over the next two days), but I couldn't resist making a follow up one after I read this post courtesy of Kara Swisher called Wenda Speaks. Kara basically got the chance to speak with Wenda; I guess (having been a) reporter for the WSJ has some privileges versus an advertiser :-) Key points of the post for me with some commentary next to it include:
- Her quick exit last weekend caused Yahoo to lash back at her in a press release, essentially suggesting she was not qualified for her Yahoo duties anymore. Basically this was just bad spin on Yahoo. I have worked with every major publisher around and she definitely had the skills sets Yahoo needed for transformation. As I wrote earlier, her sales team in Finance as well as Political have been cross-selling for years and sold Yahoo as a package.
- But they also said she was probably about to get the lion’s share of the blame for an expected falloff in graphical ad sales at Yahoo in its upcoming quarterly report. Is that fair? Well I don't know their inner workings, but I can tell you this much. Competitors in the Finance category which was their largest revenue source have been consolidating. For example, when TD and Ameritrade merged, $10 million in online sales just disappeared. Plus, the growth of Google as more than just a search platform and (based on my personal experiences which is MORE THAN JUST POLITICAL) combined with Yahoo Search's lackluster results has hurt them. In the end, if you miss your Sales numbers at Yahoo you get let go; I've seen this many times over the years.
- “Wenda really excelled in the branded ad business, where it is all about the emotional links people have to products,” said one exec at Yahoo. “But this was an environment where now it was all about measurement of ad results, and she resisted.” That wasn't my experience ever with Wenda or the rest of the Yahoo Finance team. They were always about performance and meeting my goals. And, it seems foolish to think that brand advertising has no metrics to track.
- And so did many ad players who contacted me yesterday. “She is a star,” said one person, who was a longtime rival of Millard’s at another big online company. “And worse for Yahoo is that advertisers love her, so this makes them look really petty.” If I had to guess who that person was, I'd say it was a very high level executive at MSN, but I won't mention her name since Kara didn't and besides, I'm only guessing.
A lot of people have asked me why all of the posts and if I still will advertise with Yahoo. Wenda and the rest of the sales team at Yahoo have been excellent to me over the years; and, this dates back to 1998. I had no intention of just ranting all day long against Yahoo or inserting myself into this conversation. Wenda was savvy enough a few years back to meet with me when I controlled a multi-million dollar advertising budget when most sales executives would rather wine and dine with my CXOs. Wenda always worked with me, her team delivered great results for me, and when I was out and about looking for my next career move, Wenda took the time out of her busy day to answer my emails. Will I still advertise with Yahoo? Absolutely, I just felt a sense of loyalty to someone who reached out to me a few years back.