Posted November 3, 2008 10:36 am by with 12 comments

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Yesterday the New York Times spoke of the ‘success’ of Yahoo during this election marathon that is thankfully winding up (I hope) in the next 48 hours. This election process has been a boon for news sites and the equivalent of a ‘millstone around the neck’ for people like me. How much more can one say or do or think or accuse or lie or point fingers about at this point? Apparently enough to make Yahoo beef up its coverage and anticipate a banner day.

Interestingly enough, the coverage of any election still has an old school feel. A lot of people turn to TV for their marathon Election Day live prognostications and exit polls and projections. Much like the phenomenon of traditional Black Friday shopping the day after Thanksgiving and the following online “Black Monday” the real traffic for news sites occurs the day after the event as people try to make sense of what just happened. To me, it’s a little like watching a really bad football game. You watch it because your team is in it but you know you really should be doing something constructive with your time.

Yahoo is really more of an aggregator of news and their partnership with ABCNews makes them just a shill for that network and its coverage. They write some content but they draw most other content from the AP and a few other sources like What Yahoo brings to the table is interactive maps with projections (based on AP information of course) and other bells and whistles. The idea here is that people will be tracking the election outcome like a fantasy football team. I suppose even I will follow this thing but with a different eye than most. So you all know where I stand, I believe a politician is a politician is a politician regardless which side of the two party system you sit on. I think it will be most interesting to watch how different outlets try to spin things to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. The most likely victim in this whole thing will be the truth but, hey, who’s counting?

For Yahoo there is a lot at stake. Since it ranks among the top news sites on the net there are huge advertising dollars to rake in. Yahoo actually outperformed the MSNBC network of sites during the Olympics (which NBC televised so that shows how much people like the traditional networks). If Yahoo can set itself apart during this coverage it stands to help itself during a time when the news on Yahoo itself is not so good.

Here’s my question. Based on the banner year of ‘one time’ events like the Olympics and this campaign of Olympic marathon proportions what will Yahoo think it can get for advertising in the future? Will the numbers that this has generated (some projections place it at 3 times the volume following the last presidential election) translate into higher ad costs for advertisers or will the advertisers fight back with the argument that the numbers for 2008 are inflated? If I was an advertiser I would be fighting already. You know that Yahoo will make serious claims about its traffic etc but any thinking advertiser will ask them to get to the real numbers. Otherwise, they will be paying for phantom traffic based on a huge bubble created by this ‘event’. Should be interesting.

  • I would expect the latter. Both events for all practical purposes were one off. So, hard headed spenders are likely to ask for current, repeatable stats.

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  • I think marketers are going to fight back and say that these two events were extremely inflated. These were two huge events with this election being more heated than I can ever remember and the Olympics being one of the largest I can ever remember. Of course Yahoo is going to ask for more money, but I doubt marketers are going to buy into it. We’ll have to wait and see.

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  • Although election coverage lasts longer, I think it makes more sense for publishers & broadcasters to treat it like the Superbowl.

    No one wraps Superbowl viewer numbers (or ad prices) into their media rates … it’s a special event, and is priced accordingly.

    Same thing for Election Day coverage in the future I’d guess.

    Ami Ohayon’s last blog post..From Jerusalem to Boston

  • A related question … I’m in Israel, not the US. Anyone have suggestions on which news stations will have streaming coverage live tomorrow? I need to work, so can’t simply park myself in front of the TV for the day, but I’d like to follow the action online if possible.

    Ami Ohayon’s last blog post..From Jerusalem to Boston

  • Yahoo has been getting more than normal election traffic due to it’s release of Yahoo! Buzz.

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  • @Utah: Thats great and all but Yahoo! Buzz isn’t going to save them

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  • I doubt that doing any good!

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  • I’m just happy to see a bit of good news for beaten-down yahoo…….keep their pulse beating awhile longer……

  • I agree with Ami. It’s a special event and it really shouldn’t affect the long run advertising costs. This is the first time Yahoo has been in the news for something positive so lets see if this is the beginning of something better.


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  • It will probably die down once the election is over, but still getting good traffic now might help them when more events occur

  • This is a great step indeed for Yahoo. I hope they keep it up.

  • Have always and will always be a yahoo fan. nothing personal against Big G or MS but I do get quality traffic and help my business.