Yahoo! – The Death of a Search Engine

I heard the news today – Oh Boy!

It seems that west coast the fault lines running through Yahoo! are opening up once more. The news today is that three more top executives are due to resign.

Reading this, I’d forgotten about the failed takeover by Microsoft a few years ago, but it seems that Carol Bartz, the CEO who replaced Jerry Yang, to ‘clean up’ and restore  Yahoo! to greatness, after that failed attempt, is now presiding over a sinking ship.

I recall a great article I read a month or so ago by Paul Graham who detailed meeting founder Jerry Yang to discuss a new model for online advertising. The model they discussed was essentially the PPC model we know today, but at the time of the meeting, online ad revenues were being generated by banners and CPM deals. Advertisers were still living in the twentieth century and impressions were king. As this new model looked like giving advertisers much more visibility of the power of their ad dollars, Yang ran for the hills, preferring instead to sit on his throne of banners and skyscrapers.

Of course we all know who eventually saw the potential of the new model and now who cleans up!

Does anyone use Yahoo!? It’s a serious question. I know they went on an acquisition trail, picking up Flickr, Kelkoo and Delicious, so yes we probably use Yahoo! to access these services – but do you use Yahoo! for email, or even (sshhhh) search?

Paul Graham talks of there being no ‘hacker’ culture at Yahoo! Which was in complete contrast to the other silicon valley companies at the time. Instead, Yahoo! had an old fashioned approach towards its employees. Clock in, clock out.

Back in the day, there was Compuserve, Alta Vista, Yahoo! and then a odd one called Google. Whilst others have gone by the wayside, it’s a shame to hear of Yahoo’s seemingly imminent demise. But you reap what you sow I suppose.

Google’s Golden Egg at Risk?

Here’s a fascinating article by Tom Foremski on Google’s own eye tracking results from trials of its new ‘Google Instant’ search product.

Essentially, after just a couple of characters are entered, some suggested results are presented. The overall aim is to shorten the time people have to search for the sites they want. A glorified and more intelligent ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button.

Unsurprisingly, the results suggest that very little of the ‘heat’ generated by eye movements went to the traditional paid search ads on the right hand side of the page while automated suggestions are presented to the viewer.

With two thirds of it’s overall revenue generated by these ads, what will be the implications of people spending less time seeing and clicking these ads in the future?

Are Google prepared to kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

Or do they have plans to replace this revenue through other paid search models up their sleeves?