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April 9, 2008

Yahoo’s Big Day of Fun

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So, let’s talk about Yahoo, eh?

Yahoo Brings Relevant Video To Flickr

The news that Yahoo was integrated video into its photo site broke yesterday and I pretty much ignored it, assuming it would be lame attempt to compete with YouTube and that it wouldn’t bring value to anything. It’s a good thing I can admit when I’m wrong.

I was totally wrong.

As explained on the Flickr blog, the video capabilities they’re launching aren’t an attempt to compete with YouTube at all; they’re actually perfectly targeted to the very loyal Flickr community. The video option is only available to users with a "pro" Flickr account, and videos can’t be any longer than 90 seconds or larger than 150 MB. It’s clear Flickr is looking for video content that you have created yourself, not copyrighted videos you’re stealing from someone else. Where YouTube is about boobs and skateboard accidents, Flickr is about sharing home movies and personal experiences. Sweet, right?

I really like the approach Flickr and Yahoo have taken here. It’s not about competing with Google and YouTube. It’s about finding a way to bring value to their community by adding new features that will enrich their experience. Not giving them features they didn’t ask for and don’t want. Props to Yahoo on this one.

Yahoo Finds Web Analytics Service In IndexTool Acquisition

After Yahoo showed how cool they were in the video department, they opted to purchase an analytics company and show everyone they can rock that too. Through their acquisition of Tensa Kft, Yahoo will take control of IndexTools, a customizable Web analytics package targeted towards small-to-medium sized businesses advertising on Yahoo. The purchase puts Yahoo in a great position to compete with the top tier Web analytics programs out there.

From the Yahoo press release:

"[Yahoo] today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Tensa Kft., more commonly known as IndexTools, a leading provider of Web analytics software for online marketing…Upon completion of the acquisition, the addition of the IndexTools’ assets is intended to expand Yahoo!’s powerful set of services designed to maximize its clients’ online marketing efforts."

Eric Peterson is much smarter than me and issued his own How Yahoo! Buying IndexTools Changes Web Analytics that I would very much encourage you to read. In it Eric outlines why this could be a game changer for the Analytics industry and predicts that Yahoo will charge for the service at first, and then make it free down the line. His post is filled with good nuggets.

Yahoo Will Outsource Search Ads to Google

The most exciting piece of Yahoo news is their confirmation that they will be testing Google paid search ads alongside its own for the next two weeks. Yahoo says Google ads will appear on no more than 3 percent of its SERPs. They test is designed for both Yahoo and Google to evaluate the revenue potential of a broader, long-term deal. Obviously there’s lots of speculation that Yahoo is doing this in a last ditch effort to avoid being bought out by Microsoft and to show them they still have some fight left.

The truth is, Google clearly has the bigger ad inventory so outsourcing to them may be a good way for Yahoo to increase their revenue, even if it does somewhat make them look like a little kid running to their mommy to fix a boo boo. It’s also disappointing to see even after the launch of Panama, Yahoo still can’t hold its own in the area of paid search.

Predictably, Microsoft isn’t reacting well to the news and has once again pulled out the "you’ll ruin the competitiveness of the Internet" card. I don’t think that argument holds up though. As Danny Sullivan pointed out at Search Engine Land, Google’s not buying Yahoo, they’re just partnering with them. And we’ve already had a situation where one company owned more than 90 percent of the paid search market. It was Overture back in the day. No one stepped in then. Also, Microsoft, shut up. You don’t seem too concerned about protecting the sanctity of the Internet when you’re the one trouncing all over it.

It’s been a busy few days for Yahoo. With scorned love letters being passed back and forth with Microsoft, to adding video to Flickr, buying a Web analytics company and now testing out Google ads, you have to give Yahoo credit. We haven’t seen this much excitement coming out of the number two engine in quite some time.





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