Yahoo has two big news items garnering publicity today: an article about Susan Decker in the New York Times and a new ad format.
“Can She Turn Yahoo Into, Well, Google?”
The New York Times (via) starts off asking the right question: can recently-promoted Yahoo president Sue Decker change Yahoo fortune’s for the better? Well, if finally getting a turn in the Sunday Times counts, then perhaps. Or if her resume counts for something, yes.
However, the reporter didn’t actually interview Decker (she declined), so the article doesn’t provide a ton of new information. If you need to know more about the “Can They Save Yahoo?” debate and a laundry list of Decker’s successes and shortcomings within and outside of Yahoo (along with several concerned parties reminding us that she has little operations experience). Still, if you’ve not been apprised of Yahoo’s situation and the goals of their new leadership, it’s a good place to start.
One paragraph in the article points out a shortcoming which Yahoo appears to be rectifying today.
Ms. [Christa] Quarles of Thomas Weisel fears that Yahooâ€™s recent troubles in display advertising may be a sign that history is about to repeat itself. As Yahoo stood still in search advertising, Google innovated at a furious pace to become the runaway leader in that business, she said. Then, when Yahoo finally turned its attention to search, with Project Panama, it stopped innovating in display advertising, just as Google began aiming at that market.
Yahoo’s New SmartAds
Yahoo announced SmartAds today, a new graphical ad system to improve display ads’ targeting and relevance. Basically, according to the demo, the system “learns” what individual searchers want based on their location and their search histories. Then is serves customized display ads to appeal directly to a searchers’ interests. Apparently, the text in display ads is changed based on the user’s profile.
No wonder Yahoo’s been so interested in personalization.