Jeff Weiner, No Longer at Yahoo

This is a major loss. I am a big Jeff Weiner fan. As Om said, Ouch. Clearly I missed this, and Jeremy's exit as well. Wow, those were two of the guys I really respected there. There are others, of course, but from what I can tell, they are…

This is a major loss. I am a big Jeff Weiner fan. As Om said, Ouch. Clearly I missed this, and Jeremy’s exit as well.

Wow, those were two of the guys I really respected there. There are others, of course, but from what I can tell, they are on the way out too.

Wow. What a tragedy.

9 thoughts on “Jeff Weiner, No Longer at Yahoo”

  1. From what I can tell, Jeff Weiner was hand-picked by Terry Semel to lead Yahoo Search (before there was such a thing.)

    He bought Inktomi & Overture and incorporated them into Yahoo. These made a lot of sense at the time. Ok.

    He has lost search share every day since day one. Not ok.

    He was in charge of “Panama” which took billions of dollars to implement. As shareholders, we waited patiently for Panama. With this recent Google announcement, it appears as though Yahoo has admitted Panama did not work. Not ok.

    Despite these failures, Jeff was seemingly promoted some time last year. Not ok.

    Why does every blog say that losing Jeff is a major loss for Yahoo? When you look at his public track record with the company, he should have been fired long ago – he hasn’t been successful with anything.

  2. OutsideLookingIn, this is how it looked from the inside, at least to this ex-Yahoo:

    Yahoo’s biggest problem in search was a poorly executed integration with Overture. Ted Meisel was left in charge of Overture’s strategy for too long and he had too large a commitment to focusing on the head of the advertising market. On the technical side, Overture’s infrastructure didn’t scale that well — too big a reliance on Oracle. Phu let Overture take two runs at improving their infrastructure before Panama was put under Sunnyvale’s technical control. Panama itself seems to have been successful but by that time it was too late. Google could outspend Yahoo by a lot over a period of years, leaving Yahoo in the dust. I am not sure how much Jeff had to do with these things — the Overture integration was under Dan R., I believe. From my interactions, Jeff was a pretty effective if intimidating manager. He may not have acted strongly enough to invest in overcoming Google’s big technical advantages but this may have been an organization-wide problem due to lack of vision on the technical side at the executive level.

  3. To this ex Yahoo (and yep, that’s my real name, etc).

    I’d surmise this way:

    Weiner (or Dan, or who-ever) couldn’t get off the crack pipe…the Paid Inclusion model. It failed *everywhere*. Yahoo still can’t get off the crack.

    Why would anybody with half a brain recommend an engine where you CANNOT distinguish the ads from the natural results?

    And once you opt into the crack program, let’s suppose you’re “myspace” with one of the largest brand names on the web. You start paying, per click, for every navigational query to your site.

    This is NOT acceptable, and every idiot on the planet with an ounce of insight into search could tell you, if they know about this program, there is NO way they can ethically recommend Yahoo Search to anybody.

    I could say more…but, really, I can’t. Too egregious an NDA following my departure, etc, etc, as a result of our consulting engagement with Yahoo that ended in 2007.

    Guys, it may be Weiner’s fault, it may be Dan R’s fault, but not matter who you point to, if Yahoo would have asked their *employees* who many didn’t realize we still HAD paid inclusion while I was there, should we drop the program? Does it make us look relevant – or desperate & money hungry?

  4. Jeremy, paid inclusion had its issues but this was never a primary problem, just a side show that mostly bugged the webmaster/SEO community that you are involved with.

  5. “ExYahoo” …well, imho, BS: why?

    Tons of reasons, most of them to do with the choice quote from ask jeeves (who had paid inclusion & then abandoned it):
    “There wasn’t a fair way to integrate the paid feeds into the algorithmic results”.

    Now, there’s that, which suggests that you’d have to (gasp) manually put the ads in the top to make them pay, AND there is the machine learning issue.

    Once you have multiple data sets & you’re trying to use machine learning to process & improve the results set, every amount of noise makes the task that much harder. Thus, paid inclusion negatively impacted relevance. Something which is HUGELY important to search.

    >mostly bugged

    Ah, you’re wrong again – *bugs* as in, present tense. If you think Amazon is going to pay per click for a navigational query such as “” or any other top brand…you’re confused.

    And it’s exactly the kind of misundertanding you’re showing which proves my point: Yahoo Search can’t win, because they won’t do whatever it takes to be competitive.

    Even among former Yahoo’s, if that’s not clear, then they have absolutely no hope at all.

    Last, given the number of executives I presented to (despite my lowly title) I can honestly say the confusion you’re showing went right to the top. The recently departed Fayyad, when I presented on SEO to him & his staff, said literally “we should buy 10,000 domains, cross link them, and then we’ll win”…thinking that, as a rocket scientist, he was “smarter” than the Google group.

    Please. Cammie, when I talked to her, called search marketing & SEO “crack” literally.

    I can go on & on…how many executive quotes can you pull out, O person of mystery? 🙂

    Jeff, whether it was his deal to hamstring Yahoo Search or somebody else’s…doesn’t matter. What matters is Yahoo never brought themselves to *try* as hard as they could to win, they cared too much about short term revenue.

  6. “What matters is Yahoo never brought themselves to *try* as hard as they could to win, they cared too much about short term revenue.”

    Here I’ll agree with you. Where I disagree is with your assertion that Paid Inclusion was the key element of this — it’s more a symptom of the larger issue.

  7. “Paid inclusion killed Yahoo”… that’s a riot. (btw…I’d put my real name in here Jeremy, but I’m about to dismantle your crazy thesis and you sound a little unstable.)

    Google is just so much better at delivering great products to consumers and advertisers. And Y! search has been doomed because of this fact for awhile. That isn’t to say Y! didn’t help bring about their own demise. Paid Inclusion is a very very small symptom of many larger, more damning components.

    Is it really paid inclusion that makes people not want to search from the yahoo homepage? or is it the advertainment clutter that Google is completely void of?

    Is it Paid Inclusion that made Yahoo’s (old and new) PPC interfaces so shitty compared to Googles?

    Is it because of Paid Inclusion that Yahoo has no identity or desire to define itself as something a little more modern than an entertainment portal. Hell, they don’t even have the guts to do that!

    And finally…the death knell…is it Paid Inclusion’s fault that Jerry Yang put pride and 90’s-era “evil empire” superstition ahead of shareholder value when he shunned MS and ran into the arms of the Google? Nothing could better illustrate the top-down disintegration of a once-great company.

    Suggesting that the technical complications and Search fanboy cred issues of Paid Inclusion are what brought Y! down is just plain silly.

  8. Vincent, where did I say Paid Inclusion was the sole arbiter of Yahoo’s demise?

    🙂 That’s right, I didn’t. Your correct, it was one problem of many…what I was illustrating is simple: it’s a symptom of the peter principle at work.

    *Now* after you fast forward (remember, Paid Inclusion started back in 2004 under the Yahoo label…prior to the conversion of Overture to Yahoo Search Marketing)…there are lots more issues.

    However, I’m talking “inflection points” and when Yahoo bought the various search engines, the first & foremost goal should have been algorithmic search. Wihout that, you have zero ability to sell a search advertising product.

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