Yahoo’s Bartz: ‘Things Are Looking Up’

Asked about the disparity between online media usage and internet ad spending at UBS Media Week, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz said that the gap was in part because internet advertising had initially over-sold itself: “I think internet advertising oversold itself at the beginning, over-promised preciseness.” That, however, she said, was beginning to change. “Things are looking up. We’re seeing marketers engage.” Some other highlights from her remarks:

HotJobs: Bartz appeared to confirm for the first time reports that Yahoo was willing to part with HotJobs, saying that the company had said “all along” that HotJobs was “not strategic to the company” and that Yahoo was willing to sell it at the “right price.”

Local: She played up Yahoo’s position in the local space because of the company’s relationship with AT&T (NYSE: T) and the newspaper consortium, both of which provide it with a large local sales force. She played down online competition in the market, saying that the real competition remained offline advertisers. Bartz also hinted that she was interested in adding hyperlocal content to Yahoo properties, although she did not offer details.

AOL: Bartz said that a public AOL (NYSE: TWX) would increase “awareness of online advertising” — and also validated Yahoo’s own focus on content.

Search: Continuing on with a refrain she has made for months, Bartz said that while Yahoo was outsourcing the “engine of search” to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), it would keep control of the search user interface. “It won’t even be close to Bing,” she said, referring to how the search results on Yahoo would look after the Microsoft ad pact goes into effect. As for the company’s recent decline in search market share, she said that most of the drop could be linked to the end of toolbar distribution deals.

Standing with college students: Asked whether she was worried that Yahoo was not a “starting point for college kids,” Bartz said she did not need it to be, noting that if a young person was a sports fan they would invariably head to a Yahoo sports site — and adding that there was a “huge population” outside of that demographic. “This is not a problem I go to sleep worrying about,” she said.