Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz in the WSJ on not divorcing Yahoo’s search and display assets in any discussions with MSFT:
“Yahoo’s search and display businesses are greater than the sum of their parts, she said. The two businesses are “linked in the minds of the top 200 advertisers,” she says, noting that Yahoo’s salesforce can sell more advertising because they sell the combined concept. She also said that any deal between the two parties would have to give Yahoo access to the raw search data to enable it to optimize all its other ad offerings. “We would never debone the company,” she said.”
This is reaffirming the obvious — that search and display advertising are inseparable and enhance each other’s yields. Looked upon at large, Yahoo’s value pitch is around the targeted of its tier one display inventory — the Yahoo sales team spins a compelling vision of targeting and detection of consumer intentions much better than their counterparts at MSN or Google. But … (big but), Yahoo search is not regarded as the defacto standard to the extent Google is (though it certainly beats Microsof’t’s efforts like a drum).
To revive Yahoo search I think the company needs to make an overt engineering committment to improving the quality of its SERP (search engine result pages) and make a convincing argument that its “black box” has attributes that distinguish it from Google. Until Yahoo can turn itself into a verb, it will hobble along, strong in a weak medium — banner ads, but weak in a strong medium, paid search.
The best asset they have going for them: reach. We did a big push through Yahoo during the last week of the Olympics and the results were impressive and the buy, for all its global complexity, amazingly efficient (thanks to Neo@Ogilvy and their fast moves to nail down availabile inventory).