June 12th, 2007

Terry Semel feeling pressure mount

Terry Semel via WikimediaThings have been quite difficult for Yahoo lately. Especially for Terry Semel. Adding to the pressure today is an article in the New York Times. In one way, you can’t blame him. Google has become a Juggernaut. The same way that Roger Federer has explained that his loss to Rafael Nadal at RolandGarros was due to Nadal being superior on that clay surface to anyone and not due to any major errors on his part, Semel can make the same excuse vis-a-vis Google.

Yahoo! does have some great properties they developed like Pipes and pockets of brilliance and good purchases like Flickr. But where he didn’t really try hard enough was in the field where Google does best. Adwords and Adsense.

Those services together provide Google with the majority of their revenue. They both have weaknesses. I was on various pilot programs for both Adsense and Yahoo Publisher Network and the latter just seemed like a bad copy of Adsense. I wish they had some originality. I could come up with plenty of new ideas for Panama or YPN, why couldn’t they?

The funny thing about markets is that there’s room to make a lot of money even if you are number two. If they didn’t feel they could compete with Google head to head, they could always have differentiated themselves by doing something Google did not want to do.

If Google is going for low quality MFA publishers (not anymore), then go for high end. If they go for high end, give the hard working publishers a good alternative. But copying Google right and left just won’t work. This is as obvious as ABC. I hope they figure this out and make some changes.

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