What domain name is worth $5B? Apparently, "WSJ.com" is to Rupert Murdoch.
How does he respond to this bleak picture? By musing about investing even more in newspapers. "What if, at the Journal, we spent $100 million a year hiring all the best business journalists in the world? Say 200 of them. And spent some money on establishing the brand but went global — a great, great newspaper with big, iconic names, outstanding writers, reporters, experts. And then you make it free, online only. No printing plants, no paper, no trucks. How long would it take for the advertising to come? It would be successful, it would work and you'd make ... a little bit of money. Then again, the Journal and the Times make very little money now."
He's buying The Wall St. Journal brand, and planning to make it free on the internet.
Is the iPhone the new Red Swingline Stapler?
Labels: separated at birth
This is bad for Yahoo. The Yahoo insiders that I know have always said that Wenda Millard (Chief Sales Officer) was absolutely great. Key to their success on the display side - which was their only success, since search was so screwed up.
So it's a bad sign that she's leaving as Decker and Yang take over.
Even more ominous - she's going to work for Martha Stewart Omnimedia.
I mean, does Yahoo really suck that much? I guess so. On the bright side, I'd take it that there will a bit of needed upheaval at Yahoo for the rest of the year...
What's Jerry Yang gonna do to revitalize a slumping Yahoo? Andrew Goodman has a very good list of action items for Yahoo!
The biggest thing I'd suggest is: "Be the Next Facebook".
Yahoo has all the pieces to build a next-gen homepage portal, and they should copy most of Facebook.
Facebook's weaknesses are:
That's it. Those are really the same things. It's not clear how useful Facebook is in organizing your life if you are not mainly into hooking up with hotties. And Facebook is run by a bunch of 24yr-olds who are trying to figure out how to make it more appealing. That's a limitation.
Yahoo already has the platform. They have, what, about 10X more profiles than Facebook. Yahoo has properties like Yahoo! Groups which are incredibly useful for soccer-moms. Yahoo is good at APIs. They have the Flickr braintrust.
Also, Yahoo already shows MUCH BETTER ads than Facebook does. And they do have a great ad salesforce.
Yahoo needs to re-invent My Yahoo, copying the best of Facebook's social features (like friends 'confirming' where they met you), opening the the social graph, integrating useful features like Groups, Flickr, Finance, Answers, Sports, etc.
They need to copy some of the design minimalism that Facebook is good at. They don't need to keep adding slow-loading graphics everywhere - like they've done with sports.yahoo.com - ruining the experience for someone who just wants to check the damn scores.
Anyways, I think Yahoo has the kernel of this idea already. Semel talked about it endlessly.
To do this, MASSIVE FOCUS is needed. That's what Facebook has that Yahoo does not! Either Jerry Yang turns the battleship around fast (like BillG did back in '95), or he'll watch Mark Zuckerberg take over Yahoo's last bastion of hope.
I admit that I've been caught up in the Facebook hype. Marc Andressen's post on their API has caught a lot of attention, and for anyone building web stuff, a ready audience of 25 million active users is hard to ignore.
So I went to Amazon and bought the only book I could find about Facebook - Inside Facebook. It's written by an engineer who worked there for all of 1 year. He was a bit of an outsider being the only guy over 30 for a long time and not being part of founder Zuckerberg's Harvard mafia.
The book really doesn't have a great deal of info in it, it's short, full of links, and better consumed as a PDF. It's more like a series of blog entries.
About 20% of the book is actually about Facebook, covering the names / titles of the early employees, a bit of the vision, and some anecdotes / factoids. For example, Zuckerberg has two business cards, one with the title: CEO and another that says I'm the CEO... bitch. Zuck also doesn't like coffee much.
If you want to know who the braintrust is at Facebook, you'll at least learn their names: Dustin Moskovitz, DeAngelo, Jeff Rothschild, Matt Cohler, etc.
Overall, the book is underwhelming, but if you are thinking of interviewing at Facebook, or partnering with them, it's definitely worth the $10 bucks and 40 minutes it takes to read.
Actually, it was probably the fact that Forbes ranked Terry Semel as the 2nd highest paid executive of 2006 (he was #1 in 2005). Not a great thing to be if your company has really under performed during the second coming of the dot-com bubble.
Anyways, good for Yahoo!
(via Paul K.)
This hasn't worked. It's time to just switch back to what everyone "knows" a search engine looks like - Google. Yahoo and Ask also look exactly like Google. Microsoft just looks odd.
By copying Google exactly (including their use of the Golden Ratio in layout), Microsoft can pick up for free all the benefits of thousands of hours of Google usability testing.
I spent a lot of time on the phone today with customer support from Google AdWords (1-866-2-GOOGLE), Yahoo Search Marketing (1-866-YAHOO-01) and MSN adCenter (800-518-5689). I've been trying to convert a lot of campaigns from Google over to Yahoo and MSN.
Unfortunately, Yahoo Panama has a limit of 20 campaigns per account. I tried to get that limit increased. Here's the email I got after spending 20mins on the phone and being told that they would be able to increase the limit.
It was a pleasure speaking with you today.
Unfortunately, at this time we will be unable to increase your Campaign limit.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance. Thank you for choosing Yahoo! Search Marketing!
They did offer to let me have a sub-account. That's akin to having multiple accounts, and is a headache to manage. AGGGHHH...
Maybe the supervisor read my blog and felt like making me suffer for some of the less flattering things I've said about Panama or even Terry Semel? Probably not, but why in heaven's name shouldn't I be able to create more campaigns to spend money on Yahoo?
C'mon Yahoo!, don't be stingy with the vino!
I'm watching TV and I see an Avodart ad for the millionth time... and I actually listen to it as they do the standard disclaimer. It begins:
Avodart is for men only... women should not take avodart...
Is advertising really so powerful that there are women out there clamoring to shrink their prostates? Talk about reach & frequency.
If you are an experienced Google AdWords advertiser, you probably know the difference between "Broad", "Phrase" and "Exact" match. If not, look here.
But Yahoo Search Marketing's Panama system offers only two keyword match types: Standard and Advanced.
Most of the time, Standard is the better choice. Especially if you like to tailor your ad groups with dynamic keyword insertion, or if you mostly use Phrase and Exact match in Google.
Here's what Yahoo says about Standard vs Advanced match:
- Standard match type – for exact matches of your keywords or their minor variations.
- Advanced match type – for matches that use your keywords in various contexts.
When using Advanced match type, we also provide you with our Excluded Words option to help refine your matches by filtering out searches that do are not relevant to your business.
Standard Match Type The Standard match type displays your ads for exact matches to your keywords, as well as for singular/plural variations and common misspellings.
Just remember - Standard is more like Google's Phrase match. Advanced, though it may sound cool, is really a free-for-all like Broad match. It can hurt your ad relevancy and overall CTR because you'll buy a lot of clicks on less relevant searches with Advanced.
Of course, Yahoo makes Advanced the default. When you use the Yahoo tools to convert an adwords campaign, it ignores the Google match types, and sets them all to Advanced.
This is another area where Yahoo Panama could improve things just by copying what Google AdWords does exactly.
A friendly MSN adCenter rep called me today to get my feedback on adCenter. Well, as you can guess, I regaled her with an hour's worth of ranting. In exchange she looked at one of my adcenter campaigns and gave me a tip (paraphrasing here):
AdCenter likes small, relevant ad groups. Break up that big keyword list so you don't weigh down the overall average CTR with the speculative long-tail terms.
This is something obvious that I should know. It's true on Google and Panama as well. Make small adgroups of like terms. But apparently, that explains some of the lack of traffic in a comparison test of AdWords, AdCenter & Panama I wrote about.
So I'm going to try it and see how it works. I'm glad they called me - it's nice to be able to write something positive about Microsoft once in a while.
Here's how I'll be voting my YHOO shares.
Here's my past Yahoo-related blog posts which chronicle the incompetence of Semel and his board. I figure posting this is probably more reasonable than going to the Yahoo annual meeting on June 12 and shouting j'accuse at Terry. Right?
Freebase is like a combination of Google Base and Wikipedia.
It wants to be a big structured open database. If you realize it's called Free Base, and relate that to a free & open version of Google Base, you get most of the point (assuming you are one of the .00003% of web users who have ever heard of Google Base).
But Freebase also has a presentation layer like Wikipedia, with destination pages that can be edited. It has nice tools for version control and adding semantic data to each page.
However, I think Freebase faces some key obstacles in gaining mind-share:
Freebase is an exploratory semantic web blob. I'm personally of the Clay Shirky school when it comes to semantic web stuff. I.e. it's not really good at anything, and it's a research problem to determine if it ever will be. The people that get excited about this stuff fall into a small subset of the .00003% who know what Google Base is.
In other words, Freebase has no killer-app which would compel a web user to use it. The ones it could eventually have were taken by someone else first.
With Danny Hillis as a backer of the parent company (MetaWeb), Freebase will probably end up as a good playground for the Semantic Web-o-philes out there.
Last month, I followed my own advice and set up my Google AdWords and Yahoo Panama PPC accounts with cash back credit cards.
The best card deal is the Advanta Platinum Business with Rewards. It pays back 5% cash rebates on Computers and Networking purchases. Yes that's 5%
That means all your spend on search engine advertising qualifies for 5% cash rebates. That's huge.
It's only limited by your credit limit. If your card limit is $5k a month, the maximum rebate is $250. However, you can request a higher spending limit.
It's really a no-brainer. Get an Advanta Business card and use that for paying your Google, Yahoo and hosting bills.
Labels: credit cards