Archive for the ‘web 2.0’ Category

Does AOL + Yahoo = Google

October 31, 2006

Perhaps the folks in Fremont are pondering the same question this morning.  Yahoo, who more than any other company personifies the web portal concept and helped define web 1.0, is in turmoil.  Faced with an ever-eroding share of the search ad market, the company finds itself in survival mode.  After being shunned by the boys at YouTube, who favored a deal with Google instead, the company is now setting its sites elsewhere.  But is looking East, towards VA-based AOL the answer?  Most pundits would say  definitely not.

Late on their next-generation ad serving system, and plagued with integration problems from its most recent acquisitions, can Yahoo actually be considering a mamouth purchase of their long-time nemesis AOL?  That’s the buzz around the web – from Fortune to the blogosphere and beyond.

In my experience with Yahoo, never underestimate Terry Semel’s ability to change the playing field.  But would this acquisition actually change anything, except add an abundance of debt, bloated infrastructure and bad content to its stable?  Only time will tell. 

 The irony here folks is that Google stands to gain the most if this acquisition actually goes through.  Remember a little over a year ago, Google purchased a billion-dollar stake in the ailing Time Warner unit, in part, to secure their ad inventory for the next five years.  The result, a 5% equity stake for the Googlers.  Considering that price gave AOL a $20-billion valuation one year ago, let’s see what, if any, the purchase price brings Google today. 

It seems to me that Yahoo is better off spending its money on improving ways to monetize their content, rather than acquiring more content.  But, then again, Yahoo’s recent lift in the market suggests that many take an opposite viewpoint.  And, one thing is for sure, the company can not stay the course and choose to sit by idlly while Google continues to dominate the field.  Stay tuned, it’s going to get interesting.

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Online Research Drives Purchasing Decisions – Duh!

October 25, 2006

PR 101 – issue joint-study with prestigious organization; leverage data to convince media of something they already know.  Yahoo!, while losing the search war, still wants to win the minds and hearts of consumers and web advertisers alike.  To let the media know they still have something tooffer, they’ve partnered up with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), that long-established all-boy’s club.

The resulting study supports, of all things, that online research boosts sales of stereos, MP3 players, TVs, DVD players, you get the idea…. What a surprise!  Their findings show that majority of consumer purchases (73%) stemmed from online research.  “Of the $32.5 billion spent on these goods online research from search engines and manufacturer and retail websites influenced about 77% ($25.1 billion) of sales.”

What does this mean for online marketers – shopping portals, recommendation services and social shopping services are going to rake in ever-increasing share of advertising.  What does it mean for consumers – hopefully it translates into improved services that provide more relevant data and are easy to use. 

It seems to me that the majority of social shopping services are missing a key component and that is the big B – what are they saying in the blogosphere.  If you can tap into the more than 3-million blog entries each day that include a mention of a specific product or service, you would have a goldmine of data from which to help guide your purchase decisions.
Established players like ShopWiki, Kaboodle, Shopzilla, and even start-ups like Wise aren’t providing the kind of information made easily digestable for consumer consumption.  The company that figures out how to make sense from the kaos will play a central role in the consumer value chain.  And, I hope that Yahoo! one day acquires them!