As with many things regarding Yahoo these days, the conversation has been altered by the CEO Carol Bartz. Check out the Jerry Yang post from last September. He sure was excited about the impact that APT, the new service for selling display advertising, was having on Yahoo. In fact, as reported in the WSJ’s Digits blog, this service has been a favorite talking point of Yahoo reps in earnings calls and a big event to introduce it was held last year. Well, yesterday Ms. Bartz struck a little different stance on APT during an earnings call as reported by the Digits blog over at the WSJ
…she referred to it as lots of different pieces of technology, many of which still need to be built. “There is no such thing as a rollout of APT,” she said. “APT is a product that will be ongoing for a long time.”
The more you read about Yahoo during the Carol Bartz era the more you wonder what in the world was going on before she got there. It’s almost like she was brought in to be the ‘heavy’ to redirect virtually everything that Yahoo held dear just a few short months ago. Now it’s not like she is saying that the APT platform doesn’t work and is being scrapped. Far from it as evidenced by this quote
she said she had recently spent a lot of time studying the service, which she called “a big honking, important platform for us.”
What makes her approach refreshing in a world where everyone has to get everything hyped before it is even ready for presentation she continues to say
“It was a bigger task than I think the company understood, to be honest”
It looks like that is a pretty consistent recurring theme as it relates to how Yahoo has done business in the past. It almost feels like they were surviving because of the fact that they had gathered so many users of many different services during the early years of the commercial Internet and not by providing innovation. That train has come to a screeching halt under the Bartz regime. Reality, while difficult, seems to have a place at the table in the e-suite of Yahoo and that’s usually a good thing.
So don’t expect the APT platform to revolutionize the display advertising industry in the one fell swoop fashion that hype masters like Jerry Yang liked to use. Reality is tough pill to swallow but the more the folks as Yahoo work in the real world the better their chances for survival and success appear. Of course, all of this could be a classic ‘too little, too late” scenario as well. I suspect, however, that even if Yahoo joins forces with Microsoft, stays the same or goes away there is at least a better chance of knowing what is really happening and why with Bartz at the helm.