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What Does Yahoo Restructuring Mean for the User?
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
There has been a mass exodus from Yahoo (YHOO) over the past few months. We reported on some of the Yahoo restructuring in December, but really it has been continuous since then. Restructuring and refining the management team has become the norm with last week's announcement that Terry Semel was stepping down as CEO. While it's not the first time Yahoo has restructured but this latest restructuring has many questioning if whether Yahoo is starting to sink vs. swim. In 2001, Yahoo restructured and refined it's business model while they condensed Yahoo's 44 business units to six: listings, commerce, communications, media, access and enterprise. In addition, the company laid off approximately 400 employees, which was about 13 percent of its work force at the time. Over the weekend, the company announced that it was merging the two main parts of its U.S. advertising business under one sales executive. How long can Yahoo continue to shake things up without affecting their users?

So what does all this restructuring mean for the user? Well that is difficult to say? The reason is that Yahoo needs to truly decide what it is that they are in the business of. Are they a search engine? Are they an entertainment portal? Are they an advertising platform? Are they a directory? Are they simply an interactive media company? Once they focus on a particular area they will have an easier time with focusing on their goals. Is their goal to compete with Google? Possibly, but they are not exactly equipped to do this at this stage of the game. Until the restructuring is completed the user will continue to be "ignored" somewhat.

If Yahoo is looking to take on Google, there are little glimmers of hope. Take image search for example. Yahoo's announcement today that they are adding over 300 million indexed Flickr images into its image index which represents the single most important reason that Yahoo bought Flickr back in March of 2005 - to use social search and rank to increase the relevancy of image search on Yahoo. While this is just a small step, this move pushes Yahoo ahead of Google when it comes to image search. This is what Yahoo needs to continue to do if they are to improve the user experience with their users. The restructuring that has been happening needs to be finalized so that the focus can be on innovation and providing a great user experience on the Yahoo properties.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, June 27, 2007  
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