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21/02/2013 by
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CEO Marissa Mayer Unveils “New” Yahoo.com Portal

Today Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled the “new” Yahoo.com portal. I was shocked, but not in a positive way.

CEO Marissa Mayer Unveils “New” Yahoo.com Portal

In NBC’s Today Show Mayer unveiled a new look for Yahoo’s home page and mobile sites. Yes we agree, it looks cleaner, but it is more a refresh than a re-design. See Yahoo.com

“We wanted it to be familiar but we also wanted it to embrace some of the modern paradigms of the web,” Mayer said on the show this morning.

The central new component is a newsfeed running down the center of page that is supposed to be personalized to a visitor’s reading habits as well as what their Facebook friends have liked and read if they log in using a Facebook ID.

“It’s more personalized and it’s more dynamic,” Ms. Mayer said.

The company said the new look would be rolled out to all Yahoo users over the next few days.

The new look is the biggest attempt to date to give current Yahoo visitors a reason to “come back each day.” Yahoo doesn’t exactly have an audience size problem – with more than 170 million visitors in the U.S. each month – but it is facing declining engagement among those users.

Yahoo has recently topped analysts’ modest expectations for revenue growth. Last month, it posted 2012 fourth-quarter sales of $1.22 billion.

The stock is up 34% since Mayer took over, with investors buoyed by her credibility, her new management team, and recent updates to Yahoo Mail and the Flickr photo-sharing service.

Mayer was a longtime Google executive and one of its first employees.

CEO Marissa Mayer Unveils "New" Yahoo.com Portal

We changed Yahoo this much?

My Opinion?
I was shocked that this Yahoo refresh even got airtime on NBC.

It might as well have been an advertorial or sponsored story.

I expected bold strategic moves from Mayer. Michael Dell or Jeff Bezos alike changes that would change the rules in the marketplace.

Sure, this is a site refresh. But it is nothing similar to i.e. the new MySpace relaunch.

Agreed, Yahoo’s # of UVs in the U.S is still very okay, and so are its revenues. But Yahoo seems stuck in the middle.

From its start Yahoo was a destination portal, but with smart features lie: ICQ, Yahoo Mail, loads of personalization features and a very good search engine.

Today Yahoo proved that my purple loyalty has been false hope for years. What I saw today was just a new site design, with no added value at all.

Yahoo is still a destination portal stuck in the middle: It still has a poor search engine, and lacks social or interest graph specials for its users.

Personalization features? Yeah right, today’s Yahoo members get less than the ones 10-15 years ago. The period in which their search engine was still very good. But those were the Alta Vista days, and Google was not even born.

Sorry Yahoo, you are like MSN.com, a destination portal with a poor search engine. And portals like that in the end will be perish, not profit.

Marissa Mayer, some expected you to come back with a master plan. A strategic new direction for Yahoo the coming 3-5 years.

But if this is your first big punch, you are a MMA or K-1 fighter without a knock-out.

I do hope that Yahoo is able to grab and monetize the last arena left: the mobile space.

But if that fails, I guess Yahoo will be for sale on eBay in 3-5 years from now.

What About You?
Did Yahoo’s relaunch meet your expectations? What tips do you have for Marissa Mayer? I’d love to see your opinion or tips in the comments below.

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About the Author
Igor Beuker was CMO at 3 listed companies, chairman at the IAB, jury member at Webby, AMMA and Esprix awards, founder of 3 digital agencies (sold to WPP) and global chief social officer at Mindshare. Now he is ‘freejack’ consultant and a sought after keynote speaker.

 

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