Many of Yahoo’s properties rank among the most popular on the Internet. Yahoo’s homepage had 329 million unique visitors in February, according to research company comScore; Yahoo Mail had 282 million unique visitors in February, second to Microsoft HotMail.
These are pretty impressive numbers. The idea has been around Yahoo for quite some time to add a social networking component to connect users / members of these and other properties that are Yahoo’s including their fantasy sports offerings, celebrity gossip, financial sites and Flickr. The injection of new CEO Carol Bartz has apparently accelerated this process
“She really instilled a sense of urgency that this is critical to our success going forward,” said Neal Sample, Yahoo’s Vice President of Social Platforms.
Yahoo is also preparing to rollout new versions of their Yahoo Mail offering and their homepage. Being able to incorporate social media options could prove to be powerful. Of course, if all of the Yahoo users are already spending all of their social networking time with Facebook and Twitter will there be room for a whole new system to learn and manage? A lot of that will depend on the ease of use and value that is created by these new social media outlets.
One intriguing advantage that could really help Yahoo efforts is the fact that they are already advertiser driven. How will that help? Well, as Twitter and Facebook struggle to figure out how they can make money on their users Yahoo would simply be adding more opportunities for reaching their customers that advertisers are currently paying to reach anyway. While how well that translates is highly dependent upon Yahoo’s execution of this idea it is certainly something that makes one think this could work. Of note, however, is Yahoo’s spotty history of product development and go to market success. Considering their somewhat precarious position right now there may be a very slim margin of error this time.
Yahoo co-founder, Dave Filo, is quoted as saying that the company is taking a deliberate approach. That’s good in some ways but being deliberate is not a strong suit of analysts and Wall Streeters who are going to be looking for something sooner than later. Imagine a world where a good idea actually had the time to be done correctly rather than quickly. I bet our economic condition would be much better than it is now.
What’s the point of thinking that way though. Everyone wants something yesterday and that is one change that is unlikely to take place.