free html hit counter Help Me With Jeff Weiner | John Battelle's Search Blog

Help Me With Jeff Weiner

By - April 17, 2007

Jeff Weiner Thumb

Tomorrow I am interviewing Jeff Weiner, Executive Vice President, Network Division of Yahoo. Jeff and I have had a great relationship for years now, he was a key source for the book and a very smart guy to bounce just about anything off of. Today with Eric you all really made me much smarter, and I’d love your help with Jeff as well. Jeff ran the integration of all the Yahoo search properties and only recently left those duties to take a senior role in the entire Yahoo network – what is now known as the audience division. So, what do you want to know about Yahoo?

I can tell you what I want to know. First, because it’s news, Yahoo announced earnings today (Google announces Thurs.). Now, folks were expecting a win, given what Terry Semel said earlier about the early lift of Panama (see here). In short, he said he was “all smiles.” But….Wall St. gave Yahoo’s earnings a frown today – it’s down nearly 8% in after hours trading. Why? Because despite the Panama expectations, earnings dropped 11% year over year. Now, Yahoo warned the Street that the lift would not hit till Q2, but the Street wanted a surprise to the upside, and it did not get one.

So I will ask him about that.

Beyond the short term, and the Panama stuff, there’s much to dig into about Yahoo, its position in the market, the whole Facebook/M&A thing, and some pretty interesting stats that Jeff reeled off to me when we spoke on the phone earlier this month.

So, what do you want to know about?

.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

18 thoughts on “Help Me With Jeff Weiner

  1. prakster says:

    Yahoo Stores, with 20,000 online merchants, is one of Yahoo’s durable but hidden properties. Yet, their transactional business model is hurting their growth…it’s just not palatable to the higher volume sites. As a result, companies such as Volusion (which now has 5,000 such merchants, a large % of which are ex-Yahoo Stores) are signifiantly affecting Yahoo Stores’ growth.

    What’s Yahoo’s strategy to keep that platform viable, given the continued pressure from Ebay and Amazon?

  2. surya says:

    hit him hard on questions about semel. this guy is a joke! I’ll buy more stock once he’s gone. i want to know what he thinks yahoo needs in the next chief exec. that might reveal what he thinks this one lacks (i think a lot– but what does he say?).

  3. Simon Chen says:

    John, excellent job with Eric’s interview today at Web 2.0.

    Ok, I want to know when Yahoo! will stop being all things to all people and when it’s going to take some risks?

    It can only defend its melting iceberg for so long. Sooner or later it’s going to have to poke its head out from the bunker…

    When is Terry Semel going to be asked to talk at an event like Web 2.0? Where’s the strength in the leadership.

    After hearing Eric Schmidt today, it was clear that he knows (and the rest of Google knows) who’s in charge and more importantly, the direction the ship is heading.

    I cornered a Yahoo! employee at the bar tonite and discovered that employees can choose whatever email client they want to use. That’s insanity. Google employees, probably despite some kicking and screaming, had to cut over to GMail (as they should).

    It might be minor. But this lack of uniformity and direction is endemic of what lies beneath the surface. Some great talent, a loyal user base (which is fractured across a wide spread) but no vision, no leadership and no risk taking.

    I want to know when Yahoo! are going to make a stand and draw a line in the sand?

  4. Gen Ka says:

    John, I’d like for you to ask Jeff about Brickhouse, and how they plan to be successful with Brickhouse if Silicon Valley is basically an optimized environment to enable talented engineers to leave large businesses (like Yahoo!) startup a new business/service, and grow to be acquired or IPO?

    I posted a similar question to Caterina Fake’s blog without a specific answer.

  5. mb says:

    I’d love to know if Yahoo has a passion for innovation and a drive to win, or if they think they can just milk partnerships forever.

    In January, 2006, CFO Susan Decker sounded downright complacent:

    “We don’t think it’s reasonable to assume we’re going to gain a lot of share from Google … It’s not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share.”

    And on today’s earnings call, she continued the namby pamby attitude toward search market share:

    “We’ve been very pleased with our ability to maintain our position over the last couple of years … We actually have been able to widen the gap between the top two companies and everyone else.”

    Huh? Yahoo’s competition is “everyone else”? It’s OK that Google’s share grows while Yahoo’s stagnates?

    Single-digit revenue growth (9%) and declining monetization (-7%) — for a market this hot, something’s dreadfully wrong, and I place the blame squarely on lack of innovation.

    Where’s the passion? Where’s the fire? I love the purpose, drive and innovation I see at Google, and just wish Yahoo would do the same!

    Panama’s a good start, but what else have you got? Partnerships and deals without innovation ain’t gonna cut it.

  6. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    • How does Yahoo chose and decide which Search Algos to test for their Weather Update?

    • How do they access whether a Weather Update is successful?

    • They ask for Feedback on their SearchBlog (and SearchEnginesWeb – has given FRANK feeback) – how influential is this feedback?

    • Who in the Yahoo chain of command reads their Search blog comments?

    • Yahoo Search has been losing ground to Google continually – how will they stop this slide?

    • Why did Yahoo wait so many years to create its OWN search engine?

    What is the future of the Yahoo Directory?

    • Does the Search Engineers read SEO blogs and forums – and what effect do they have on decisions?

    • Are they planning to change the background color of their Sponsor Links listings from its current aqua to another color?

    • Are they considering partnering with ASK or MSN?

    • Who came up with the idea for Suggestions.yahoo.com – were they influenced by SearchEnginesWeb’s unforgetably frank posts on some high profile SEO blogs? (bet they were?)

  7. One of Yahoo!’s search mottos is people-powered search. Yahoo! has positioned itself to know more about new content creation through small acquisitions into the search group such as blo.gs, Flickr, del.icio.us, and Upcoming. How and when will we see the in-house research on user generated content markup descriptions exposed in Yahoo!’s main search products?

  8. nmw says:

    “Social search” might be interesting to know more about — e.g. WRT where Yahoo sites might be headed. For example: are there any indications that there is an ideal group size where social bookmarking works best (how to measure this? obviously, if a small group is less visible, then there’s a question whether a “low usage rate” of bookmarks is a sign that the bookmarks are “ineffective” or whether it’s just that the group is less visible).

    I realize this a more “academic” question, but it just “popped into my head” upon reading Niall’s “people-powered search” above.

    ;D nmw

  9. Perry says:

    I’d like to hear evidence that the “social search” vision is showing evidence of success. I just don’t see Yahoo providing much evidence to validate this theory as a meaningful advantage.

    My sense is they have convinced themselves that this is their ace in the hole, which lets them worry less about Google’s engineering army. Ask Jeff to prove the model to us.

  10. Paul J says:

    I would love to see you ask about some of the issues on Panama that haven’t seem to have made it to the public yet. I’ve read plenty on how it’s an improvement but it’s actually a step back for Canada. And this despite it initially looking like a huge step forward. This might seem like a minor issue but I know that several major advertisers, people who make the top 20 lists of Internet spends, are significanlty reducing their Panama spend. This will impact Panama’s revenue growth.

    What I’m refering to is the Yahoo Panama “Entanglement” issue The term Entanglement is Yahoo’s, and it refers to the fact that the geo-targeting capabilities of Panama are actually not improved over Overtures, they’ve just laid some filters over top. This is a huge issue for North American traffic as it means that USA advertisers realistically have no choice but to compete with their Canadian counterparts.

    I discovered this issue about a month ago when working with some Multi-national clients who have Canadian and American divisions. The way Panama is setup today, with North America as a default geo-target setting, it’s automatic the US counterpart will be competing with the Canadian campaign. So even if a company is only bidding on it’s trademark protected terms, it will now be competing in the Canadian Panama marketplace, bidding up their own terms. And the Bids in the Canadian geo-targeted campaign, which is done by filtering only for the Canadian Provinces, impacts the cost of those in the North American geo-targeted campaign since it cross into Canada, reducing efficiencies (overpaying) for both.

    The obvious solution is to have the American divisions opt-out of North American geo-targeting. The only way to do this is to move to US State level geo-targeting. Sounds like a good solution but it’s not. This is because 25%-30% of US IP Addresses, according to Yahoo’s Panama system, are attributed to USA at a country level, not assigned to specific states. So if you geo-target the USA based on State level targeting, you drop 25-30% of your traffic. And you do this to protect 3-5% of the traffic which is Canadian, for the Canadian division. So it’s not worth doing for the USA based campaigns and as such, it means the Canadian based campaigns are seriously overcharged on a cost per click basis.

    The situation is actually a lot bigger than multi-national companies – anyone bidding in the USA on a North American campaign is also bidding in the Canadian marketplace. It’s just most obvious when you see the results for two almost identical campaigns for different geo-targets. So Canadian advertisers are competing with Canadians AND Americans on Canadian traffic, which in many cases the American’s don’t even want.

    I’ve emailed you with more information.

  11. ron says:

    Where do they expect the fastest growth in revenue?

    Are they going to monetize search in Pay Per Acquisition? Pay Per Call? Pay Per Lead?

    Are they a media company or a technology company?

    What does he think Yahoo!’s biggest mistakes are in the last years?

  12. anon says:

    how about when actual integration will occur bwt. media sales and YSM? i would put money on Google getting Doubleclick integrated before Y integrates w/in itself . . .

  13. John Flanagan says:

    RE – Jeff Weiner interview

    I would love to hear if Yahoo understands the real problem they have with Panama is that advertisers are reducing spending because of all the fraudlent “Affiliates” that Yahoo has signed up in their PPC program. By “fraudlent” I mean affiliates that specifically create clicks without any intention of producing any revenue for the advertiser.

    I believe that Panama IS a much better system. Unfortunately for Yahoo, advertisers (who pay the revenues to Yahoo) do not like paying for fraudlent clicks that Yahoo is either unwilling or unable to stop by controlling their affiliates. Advertisers are voting with their feet and spending their money at Google. That is why revenues are dropping and will continue to drop until Yahoo “gets it”.

  14. John Flanagan says:

    RE – Jeff Weiner interview

    I would love to hear if Yahoo understands the real problem they have with Panama is that advertisers are reducing spending because of all the fraudlent “Affiliates” that Yahoo has signed up in their PPC program. By “fraudlent” I mean affiliates that specifically create clicks without any intention of producing any revenue for the advertiser.

    I believe that Panama IS a much better system. Unfortunately for Yahoo, advertisers (who pay the revenues to Yahoo) do not like paying for fraudlent clicks that Yahoo is either unwilling or unable to stop by controlling their affiliates. Advertisers are voting with their feet and spending their money at Google. That is why revenues are dropping and will continue to drop until Yahoo “gets it”.

  15. DavidT says:

    I would like to know how Yahoo is going to become a “cool company” again. Is it still interested in challenging Google frontally or has it decided to carve out a niche that it can best Google or anyone else at? Also why the search software program x1 isn’t better known (the yahoo free version of it) since its such a terrific and free product and great advertising for Yahoo.

  16. epictum says:

    “Open source” are probably two of the most recognized, if not favored, words in the Web development community. Recently, we’ve seen Facebook climb the Web charts again with their public release of their API. What do you hope to gain with YUI?