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Summary:

If you have walked the streets of Manhattan, you have seen an all familiar scene: a street hustler playing three card monte, with a gaggle of unsuspecting tourists around him, betting that they can outwit and out-hustle him. They often lose, and go home disappointed. It […]

If you have walked the streets of Manhattan, you have seen an all familiar scene: a street hustler playing three card monte, with a gaggle of unsuspecting tourists around him, betting that they can outwit and out-hustle him. They often lose, and go home disappointed.

It is the same kind of feeling you get when you read Yahoo’s latest press release announcing the departures of COO Dan Rosensweig and Lloyd Braun. (Terry Semel has a blog posting on the official Yahoo blog, which is a little more colorful.) The reorganization release is a collection of flowery words, which runs about 1,500 words doesn’t really paint a clear picture, and makes you wonder if anything will really change?


Yahoo says its business will now be divided into two groups: the audience group and the advertiser & publisher group, and each group will have two executives and a technologist attached to them. In other words, there will be one group that creates advertising opportunities aka inventory while the other brings in the revenue. Decker is responsible for the money makers. CTO Farzad Nazem is going to head up the technology group. Yahoo doesn’t want to call it a group!. so who are we to argue. ;-)

Apparently all these changes are going speed up the decision making process. The audience group is going to get a new chief!

Yahoo! has launched a search for an experienced executive to serve as head of this group.

What, not a single executive inside the company who is up to the task, or is Semel worried about infighting that might break out if one was preferred over the other. Hey, just thinking out loud here!

There is no clarity on which products/groups are going to be pruned, or merged. So it will be a while before we see the fog of bureaucracy that has enveloped Yahoo and turned it into a company that constantly second guesses itself. More than the reorg, what Yahoo needs is a serious bit of soul searching. In his longish statement Semel goes on to talk about what Yahoo will do and the future is going to be different and better.

The Internet is continuing to grow and evolve at a rapid pace, and we’re reshaping Yahoo! to be a leader in this transformation, just as we did successfully five years ago. Our strategy capitalizes on big emerging trends and leverages our core strengths in search, media, communities and communications.

A few days ago, Robert Young had noted that “If you strip away all the layers that make up Yahoo, what you’ll find is the Internet’s largest communications and community company.” I personally think of Yahoo as a consumer brand, not a technology company. Yahoo is a media company. It knows how to aggregate content pretty well, and it has the audience & has the ability to monetize it well.

And that it can offer communications tools is a bonus – and barrier to entry. Hopefully after the reorg, they realize this, and drop all the pretensions about competing over search with Google which says its mission is to organize the world’s information. Yahoo’s mission aggregating all the “relevant information.”

  1. Om, you know when it gets to this point; the game is over. This ugly at its prettiest.

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  2. I think you might be onto something. Still, the only real response that would matter is what “wall street” does. The stock movement will say if investors (and owners of the company) believe in this strategy or not.

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  3. Question is whether this is preventive or reactive. Prevent buys time. React is toast.

    From previous accounts, this is a desperate reaction.

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  4. GigaOM » Yahoo Reorg or Retread…

    GigaOM » Yahoo Reorg or Retread: What, not a single executive inside the company who is up to the task, or is Semel worried about infighting that might break out if one was preferred over the other. Hey, just thinking out loud here! I think that’s th…

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  5. MSN Soapbox: WLM, Mobile integration coming soon…

    NewTeeVee , a new site for GigaOM run by Om Malik, posts a review of MSN Soapbox that offers some insights…

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  6. You are right it’s not enough. Main reason: Semel is not technical enough to kick the right butts at Yahoo.

    My take – including what Yahoo should do now:
    http://gotads.blogspot.com/2006/12/yahoo-reorg.html

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  7. well, i agree it’s all about as clear as mud just now. maybe we’ll see more after january.

    guess i understand the re-org around customer focus, but i’d still contend that improving Yahoo monetization on search & page views is the core challenge the company needs to address… sounds like that’s now Decker’s cross to bear, altho since she’s not a techie seems like Zod’s group will be responsible for making it happen.

    at least it’s encouraging to see Semel blogging. i won’t hold my breath for the next post, but right now he’s ahead of Eric Schmidt on that count. would be great to see more Internet Giant CEOs blogging about where they plan to take the company. the vision thang, you know.

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  8. Yahoo must focus on Project Panama and efficient working of the Paid Search Advertising model.

    MediaVidea has written about how Yahoo can close the gap with Google.

    http://mediavidea.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-yahoo-can-still-close-gap-with.html

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  9. Where does Ash Patel land in all this? It seems like CPO comes close to being the advocate for the audience.

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  10. I think this speech was pulled right out of a Dilbert cartoon. They forgot “empower key motivators.”

    I would have liked to see a list of actual initiatives or objectives… something we could really sink our teeth into.

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