Years ago, the Yahoo brand was one of the most significant and recognized on the entire Web.  Offering search, email, instant messaging, news and a variety of other options; Yahoo was a company that in many ways, was ahead of its time.  Since debuting in early 1995, the company managed to remain relevant and profitable even after the "dot-com bubble" burst in 2000.  However, in the mid-2000s, Yahoo started on a gradual decline from which the company has not yet recovered.  In 2008, financial losses triggered a series of layoffs, upper management changes and perhaps most importantly, a lack of discernible direction or guidance.  Earlier this week, the company announced yet another round of layoffs, cutting 2,000 employees and diminishing their workforce by 14%.  There is much speculation about Yahoo's future given the current economy and increasing competition from consistently well-performing companies such as Google.  Is there still hope for Yahoo?  Absolutely, it just requires an innovative approach to the company's core philosophies.

Today, Google holds a similar position as Yahoo once did.  There are several parallels within the two companies.  In fact, Yahoo even adopted Google's Search technology for a time in the early-2000s.  Yet, while Google has flourished and expanded in recent years, Yahoo has steadily slid downward.  Google's rise to prominence was due largely to innovation.  The company's founders developed a unique and advanced search engine algorithm and after Web search had grown into an industry in itself, the company found itself at the forefront of that business.  From there, Google expanded upon search and added functionality such as their groundbreaking Gmail platform and more recently, Google+.  The growth of Google has gone even further with the development of its own Chrome browser and vastly popular Android OS.  Despite these new additions to the brand, Google has not given up on their search engine and realize the importance of keeping search integrated into each of the company's newer features and platforms.

Yahoo, on the other hand, seems to have lost sight.  Rather than continuing to evolve their core technologies and services, the company has directed its focus toward cost-cutting.  Though it may seem counter-intuitive, now is the best time for Yahoo to invest in innovation.  If the Yahoo brand is able to refresh its antiquated features, financial recovery looks to be a strong possibility.  Once the company has refined its business strategies and identified its core propositions within the digital space then real innovations can begin to come forward.  An increased focus on trends such as social media would benefit Yahoo and encourage Internet marketers and advertisers to utilize Yahoo more frequently in their campaigns, thus generating more revenue.

The future of Yahoo is uncertain for the time being.  No one can be sure if major changes are in the pipeline for the company.  Yahoo can be rebuilt and hopefully, it will be.  Competition often stimulates economy and challenges businesses to improve.  With any luck, Yahoo will return to its former glory and once again become a viable contender for the world's preeminent Internet brand.

April 5, 2012

Todd Bailey is Director of Search, Media and PR with Gen3 Marketing and US Brand Ambassador for Majestic SEO. Also, Founder/Editor of


"If the Yahoo brand is able to refresh its antiquated features, financial recovery looks to be a strong possibility."

Unfortunately that is much easier said than done. It's by no means impossible, but Yahoo would have to do something truly remarkable to stay afloat. They would have to come up with something pretty amazing.

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