Finally, Yahoo’s days as an independent mighty company are over. Leading telecom company Verizon has gotten into a deal with Yahoo where they have agreed to pay $4.88 billion for acquiring the company. Although Yahoo has been the pioneer of web search, they have been struggling a lot lately and continuously failing to make an impact in the competition with Google. The deal puts an end to the 21 long years of legacy that Yahoo holds on the internet. After the deal, Yahoo would be just another once mighty company that failed to sustain in the long run. The sale has to go through an approval process by regulators and is expected to be complete by Q1 of 2017. Here is a brief look back at the story of Yahoo and all about the deal.
The back story
Yahoo was once as big and powerful as Google and Facebook are today. Back in the 90s, when Google wasn’t even there in the picture, some of the world’s brilliant people manually visited websites and sorted them into appropriate categories to give birth to a directory of best websites on the internet. These 20 somethings were employed by Yahoo, an IT startup soon to be about to change the history of internet search. With the number of websites available on the internet today, you might wonder how crazy this whole thing was. Yet, they managed to create Yahoo.com with hand which helped the early stages of internet. Yahoo emerged as one of the most visited search engines and web portals across the world and lasted there for a considerable amount of time until Google snatched their golden crown.
Now, the company holds only a tiny fraction of the internet users’ attention, with Google and Facebook enjoying a lion’s share of it. The whole fall seems dramatic when you know that Yahoo once had the opportunity to buy the now biggies Google and Facebook but they let go of those opportunities that could have resulted in a completely different outcome by now.
What went wrong with Yahoo
There are several reasons that industry experts believe have led to the downfall of this once internet search giant. One of the most heard among them is the loss of focus. Yahoo has been losing its focus as a search engine and web portal by trying their luck on many different things like their own online advertising platform Panama, which was meant to be a Google AdWords competitor. This failed to pick up and they eventually had to outsource this to Microsoft.
When the mobile revolution took over and the internet usage from mobile devices started to take over desktop, Yahoo didn’t act. They failed to provide mobile-friendly versions of their products or ended up making ones that didn’t really justify the purpose. The desktop Yahoo web portal remained cluttered with ads and a bad interface which also drove people away from them.
Failing to buy Google and Facebook when they were in a position to do so have been highlighted as one of the biggest mistakes that Yahoo ever made. The irony here is that they lost to the same competitors that they could have once added to their side of the battle. Apart from these, frequent leadership changes are also one reason why Yahoo couldn’t keep long-term goals and work towards achieving them.
What’s in it for Verizon
Verizon’s interest in Yahoo is definitely not the nostalgia for one of the internet’s oldest companies that was synonymous to internet itself for a generation. With Yahoo’s arrival, Verizon is not just getting a brand that is immensely valuable, they also get 22 years of consumer data and Yahoo’s unique advertising technology. With their own expertise in wireless communications, this could complement Verizon’s business very well and could even help them create an advertising platform tailored for the mobile devices.
Over time, Verizon can target their customers better and evaluate their engagement across the internet. Better ad optimization and improved revenue are the short term perks that await Verizon. Eventually, better ad targeting would also benefit the users as they get relevant information without actively looking for it.
The downfall is nothing but dramatic and sad considering how they were one of the pioneers who shaped the internet that we see today. We can only wait and watch what this promising blend of a telecommunications giant and internet search pioneer could offer in the long run for the users.
Stay tuned for our next article to find out the pros and cons of running an in-house crawler.
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