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Bad News from Yahoo 197

Posted by michael
from the ya-who? dept.
Several people have submitted stories about the bad news that Yahoo released today (it seems appropriate to link to the story on their site). They appear to be having the same difficulty with ad revenue that is hitting everyone else. It's not a good time to be dependent on revenue from dot-coms that are themselves struggling to stay afloat.
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Bad News from Yahoo

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  • The big will prosper and eat the small. Once the small are gone and
    1. the number of available locations for banner placements has shrunk and
    2. the aggregate eyeballs are focused on fewer pages
    the few big remaining sites will be more prosperous than ever. Right now there's a whole lot of supply and not so much demand. The demand is growing (albeit more slowly than people imagined) and the supply is about to fall off precipitously.

    People will not buy subscriptions unless they're for specialty services or bundles.
  • that cross-time communication should not be relied on for investment advice. It is well known (see the documentary Frequency) that a major Yahoo stockholder received his information in this way.
  • Did anyone read the forecast? Revenues are below forecasted expectations, but *Yahoo remains profitable*.

    If anything, it will mean Yahoo will now trade closer to their captialization value. I mean, they have $2 *billion* in cash reserves. And they have more than just ad revenues - they have a number of revenue streams, albeit that ads are their primary one.

    Yahoo will remain profitable for some time to come, I imagine.
  • What Yahoo!, and some of the other dot com's need to do in order to stay afloat is to diversify. Sure, yahoo has their hands in just about everything internet. but what they don't have is some offline bussiness. I'm sure that if they got involved with OEM's and got them polluted with Yahoo instant messenger. Or got some sort of Yahoo brand crap selling in stores.

    Not that i care what happens to Yahoo, it annoys me. (just as long as they don't sell out to AOLTM)
    ----------------------

  • Checkout Cyberatlas for demographics: www.cyberatlas.com [internet.com]

    And other sites on internet.com's marketing channel [internet.com].

  • In a way, they did [forix.com]. I'd say the lunatic level of advertising is one of the things that did them in.

    Formula 1 sponsorship. Barrage of TV ads. Insertion in major Hollywood flick (Inspector Gadget). This is WAY too much for a Web portal.

  • Since the internet is going to be flooded with new ways for big sites to make money, (ie Flash commercials and huge banner ads) does that mean that the free internet is soon to be gone. I would hate to have to dodge revenuers just to goto my favorite sites... Maybe we should get together and create a huge free network where noone cares about making money and everyone is contributing for the betterment of the net itself...
    rrdejay
    Cough Gag So when can I get my MCSE for the XBOX... /Cough /Gag
  • why wouldn't they run that poll? it's demographic research. if they get a low response on d), that instantly increases their value to advertisers.

    ----
  • by theancient1 (134434) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:58PM (#377834) Homepage
    Most people don't like ads, so they get ingored. Why don't people like ads?
    • 90% of them look like they were slapped together in 2 minutes. A cheap-looking ad does not inspire confidence in the quality of the site behind the link. Every ad I remember clicking on looked like it was made by a professional graphic artist. Yes, computers are capable of displaying more than 16 colours.
    • No originality. Oh look, someone else is trying to make their ad look like a Windows dialog box. It was cool the first time, now I just ignore them.
    • Animated garbage to catch our attention. Whether they be dancing credit cards, animation in a fake windows dialog box, or just a flashing background -- almost all animation is there just to get my attention. Well, it works -- I say, "my god that's annoying", and scroll down the page without a second thought.
    • Misleading messages. Click the fast-moving object and win a prize! Okay, maybe this belongs under item 2, "no originality"
    • Unclear messages. A surprising number of ads don't give enough of an idea what you'll get by clicking. In the beginning, this was a marketing tactic -- "hmm, I wonder what this means... maybe I'll check it out." I admit, I did it myself. Now, it's so common, it's not worth our time to look at every obscure ad.
    • Dislike of interruption. Unlike traditional media, the internet is interactive. While surfing, I have a "plan", if you will. I know where I want to go next -- and it's not to that advertiser's web site. The ad has to be more interesting than the other content on the same page. It doesn't help that most ads cause the page I'm currently reading to disappear.
    • Lack of other interesting ads. If 98% of the ads aren't worth my attention, my eyes will be trained to automatically ignore the ad.
    • Untargeted ads. A corollary to the above, most of the ads I have zero interest in even if I did notice them. Online casinos, credit cards, some shareware program -- I'm not interested in any of these things.
    • Perception that ads are annoying. Corollary 2: popup windows, animated visual pollution, and the rest of the above -- all contributing to the notion that ads are a scurge that should be ignored.
  • Gee, sounds like every other media, doesn't it?

    ----

  • by NetCurl (54699) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:00PM (#377838)
    I'm willing to bet Slashdot has a smaller number of employees than Yahoo. Yahoo's expenses are probably much greater. This is why all portals are going to start having trouble. The Internet is all about specialization in technology. Yahoo has tried to do too much.
  • by Have Blue (616) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:01PM (#377839) Homepage
    Whether you like to admit it or not, advertising is a science (to a certain extent). There are things that work (psychology of color) and things that seem good but are wrong (grabbing attention with the blink tag). Banner ads are becoming much more aggressive, with the flashing and the fake error messages and the java applets and the monkey punching. If I see a banner ad that tries to get in my face and force me to look at it, I block that adserver (and their revenue). If I see a calm, nice-looking banner ad that actually informs me about the product, I leave it alone; hell I might even read or click it.

    Yahoo and all the other struggling companies should try setting some standards for banners they will run. The banner industry is killing itself by failing to see that they are pushing the consumers away.

  • Yahoo's problem isn't that their ad banners aren't enough to pay the bills, it's that their service isn't worth paying for. Yahoo (the indexing service) is a really simplistic, yet largely ineffectual service. I can't remember the last time I used Yahoo, but I used google's search at least 5 times a day.

    There is no 'Value Add' to what Yahoo provides. This doesn't count the companies that Yahoo bought. They have purchased a lot of companies in the past, integrated their offerings, yet Yahoo the index is still not worth paying for.

    They need to switch from a 'attract eyeballs' revenue model to actually offering services people would pay for, and not services that are derivative parasites of the index (pay to rank).

    The truth is that I made a Yahoo in an hour of programming PHP, but people can freely add categories themselves and add content to the categories. There is even a 'rank this item' community rating system that averages the individual votes.

    In closing, I'm surprised that Yahoo has even lasted this long.
  • careful, you're going to piss-off Kuro5hin's readership. All 5 of them.
  • I have a special user setup to download a My Yahoo page to my Palm III using AvantGo. It kicks ass. I love Yahoo. For all the reasons you state and more. I love the huge broad variety of things available, and I love the fact that I can configure my page and get rid of most of the garbage.
  • nanopayment.

    Picopayment.

    Peter Piper Paid a pico PayPal Payment.
  • by Malor (3658) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @08:20PM (#377844) Journal
    You can't waste money on the kind of scale it was wasted in the Internet Mania without terrible repercussions. Companies have taken on vast debt to finance expansion and have overbuilt massively on every front. Economists who seem to have a clue call this 'malinvestment'.

    One spends money, as a business, in the expectation of generating more money in return. Wasted money means time lost while the business generates more revenue to re-invest in something else. Taking on debt for unproductive investments is much worse -- instead of just hoping for a payoff, now the business MUST generate the money that they expected their investment to create, and must also pay interest on the money to boot. Debt-driven expansion that does not pay off is VERY bad.

    The huge amount of malinvestment during the Internet Mania will have repercussions for many years. Post-bubble fallout is always horrible, and this has been far and away the biggest bubble in human history by any measure. It makes the 1920s bull market and crash look minuscule by comparison. Businesses in every market, not just tech, have been cannibalizing their long-term prospects to drive up the stock price short term. This made the executives of these companies very wealthy via stock options, but it has done terrible hidden economic damage. Lucent, AT&T, Cendant, Xerox, and IBM are all good examples. (IBM just hasn't been found out yet by the mainstream.) There will be lots more of this going forward.

    The 1920s stock market mania (they were overbought in manufacturing and automobiles) was catastrophic enough to lead into the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Crash of 1929 did not cause the Depression. In school I always had the image of a bunch of people who were eating caviar October 15 and homeless bums in the street on October 30. In actual fact, the decline took several years, steadily destroying wealth as it went.

    The reason this wealth destruction was so catastropic was because people had taken on too much debt to buy stocks with. When the mania unwound they were left with huge debt and no possible way to pay it. The destruction of all that paper wealth and subsequent defaults caused a massive deflation. It took ten years for the economy to recover. And mark this: their whole economic expansion and stock market craze was driven by debt, just as ours has been.

    The fallout was so bad it scared off an entire generation from credit. True full-blown manias are so awful, in fact, that historically they have only happened when almost all the people old enough to remember the last one are dead. It is no coincidence that few of the people who were adult in 1930 aren't around to warn us.

    Worse still: we haven't even crashed all the way yet! The Nasdaq will drop by at least another 50%, and the Dow and S&P need to drop by 40% or so to bring themselves in line with historic valuations. The Nasdaq bubble popping alone might not be enough to trigger a full-scale crisis, but the Dow and S&P are teetering on the edge of the precipice even as I type. They might avoid this crisis. But eventually they will either decline, or the Fed will inflate the money supply so much that everything else will rise by the same amount. The overall outcome is inevitable, but whether we get there via inflation or deflation is up to a combination of investor sentiment and the Fed. So far, the Fed looks to be choosing inflation, as they are printing money at absolutely unprecedented rates. I don't have the numbers in front of me but I believe they grew the money supply at something like a 15% annualized rate last quarter. Money normally should grow about as fast as the economy does. 15% growth/year in the money supply is corrosion of wealth, a cancer -- most people don't know about the tumor yet but if left unchecked it will be lethal.
  • Ads, and not just banner ads, suck on a much more basic level: they are propaganda designed to trick me into doing something that I didn't want to do in the first place. I find that offensive. If I want to buy something, I'm perfectly able to research the available offerings and compare price/performance ratios.

    I object to the "Buy more stuff and you'll be happy!!" message that's hammered into my brain without pause.

    --

  • Interesting article... too bad the guy left out costs like development costs, paying for the content creation for the site, support, etc... All he looks at are bandwidth costs versus ad revenues.

    Actually, my comment on Kuro5hin covered your point already. Read the frickin discussion!

    Other than bandwith costs, costs don't grow linearly with the number of subscribers/viewers. I don't have to produce twice as much content if my audience doubles in size, and support costs probably won't double either - they'll increase, but unless the site's code doesn't scale, they shouldn't double. etc....

    Of course, income shrinks linearly as you decrease the number of users - probably faster, if you read rusty's comments at Kuroshin. This where lots of dotcoms get screwed. They try and target a small market - but their personnel costs are on-par with a website with a much bigger audience.

    Slashdot and Kuro5hin probably have the best business model possible, since they have little or no content creation costs - they expect CNet and ZDNet to provide it (Slashdot) or they expect the users to provide it (Kuro5hin).
  • My favorite bad idea is www.swiftboard.com. They give out free keyboards with an extra row of buttons labelled "shopping" "games" "clothes" etc. The idea is that they get everyone to install their keyboards and a Windows driver, and whenever people want to buy something they will just hit the "shopping" key.

    They keyboard has a regular PS2 connector, and it works great with Linux. It's slightly on the lightweight side, but as far as keyboards go, it doesn't have a bad typing feel.

    Thanks, www.swiftboard.com! So sorry about the sucky business plan!

  • by Manaz (46799) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:02PM (#377857) Homepage
    Last is the possibility of internet "commercials". These would merely be much more immersive banner ads, similar to what is shown on TV now. Before accesing the site, the browser would first have to view a 30 second flash movie from a sponsor, for example.

    The only problem with this sort of thing is that the majority of Internet users are *still* not hooked up to a broadband service - 30 second flash animations/commercials take a LONG time to download on a 56k modem - especially if they're of a significant size....

    If I were on a modem, and a site decided to make me watch a 30 second flash advert before accessing the site, I'd be seriously considering finding an alternative site which offered the same sort of information/services....
  • by Rombuu (22914) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:06PM (#377860)
    Interesting article... too bad the guy left out costs like development costs, paying for the content creation for the site, support, etc... All he looks at are bandwidth costs versus ad revenues.

    I don't think all these .coms are having problems becuse they can't afford bandwidth, they can, they just can't afford bandwidth and employees.
  • Reading the Kuro5hin (what does 'Kuro5hin' mean, anyway?) article, it sounds to me like he has mathematically described the concept of demographics. It appears that other media have figured out how ad rates change based on demographics.

    For example, a daily newspaper or a prime-time network televsion show is 'fat' whereas most magazines and cable shows are 'thin'.

    Related to the Yahoo! announcement, it sounds like Yahoo needs to be thin but has purchased so much content that it is actually fat.
    --
    "In the land of the brave and the free, we defend our freedom with the GNU GPL."

  • by jafac (1449)
    I think that the problem with being nickel-and-dimed is when you're not paying attention, and it starts getting out of control. Before you realize what you're doing, you've got $2000 of charges for Asking Jeeves about his evil twin. True, people didn't like paying for AOL access by the minute, as evidenced by AOL's HUGE jump in popularity when they switched over to flat rates - even though they were totally blindsided by service levels. But I don't think that asking someone to subscribe to websites at macropayment levels will work either. A lot of websurfing is based on aimlessly wandering from site to site, and that depends on a very low bar to entry.

    If they did THREE things, I think it would be workable.

    1) provide a VERY COMPACT UI readout of the account status on the desktop, so I can see where my account stands, and know when I'm being charged, and how much and for exactly what. This has to take up almost NO screen real-estate, and be very configurable, and lightweight, and responsive, and secure, guarantee privacy, and absolutely bulletproof stable, AND FUCKING CROSS PLATFORM!! (I don't mean NT and Win95 either!)

    2) Implement this status monitor as an open standard, so I don't have to run one for Yahoo, another for Slashdot, another for SpankMeMama.com, etc. Make it open. I don't exactly believe in DeJure standards, but I think that's the only way we can ensure it gets done in a way that nobody can embrace and extend it.

    3) Give people LOTS of free trials. The last thing you want to do is charge everyone $5 to get into a site for the first time, just to see what it has, and then provide them crap. If this happens, consumers will become VERY gunshy, and will avoid trying new sites.

    If this can't be done, then Micropayments will not work, and since banner ads obviously don't work, then the internet, as we know it today, will collapse under it's own weight, and what we'll end up with is a more peer-to-peer oriented system without any commercial support (gee, wasn't that what the internet was all about in the first place?).
  • I stand corrected. Netscape was first. But it's unlikely Yahoo will go out of business. It's too successful a brand to just disappear. Trim some of the fat, and it might even be profitable.

    __________________

  • That's a good question. Perhaps there should be a way to see what articles have been submitted and rejected, just so we can get an idea of what we aren't seeing- that way we can give more feeback, such as: "Pass more of those radio-centric articles"

    I've heard the argument that it is kept private to keep trolls from submitting stupid stories just to well, "mark their territory" on slashdot, but that can be remedied by having the people who review the article have a choice: accept, reject, or delete. We'd only see rejected articles on the "rejected stories" page, deleted articles would go into the abyss.

    (still posting without the +1 Bonus because it's somewhat off-topic, but important anyway)

  • The trouble is two-fold -- one: yahoo needed to be the one-stop anywhere page (x.yahoo.com where x element-of everything) in order to hold enough "eyes" to even come close to making an internet profit. This incorporated building or buying whatever they needed (becoming the portal monolith that they are, out-lasting all others). In this, they succeeded; I consider yahoo the best of the horizontal portals, with (usually) the best integration model in terms of having access to personalized factors in the "my" portal section.

    Now in buying they did what some consider to be a "good" thing: in acquiring a number of otherwise failing .coms (egroups being the biggest example).

    Now we have problem two -- yahoo's own potential for failure (nothing they did distinguished themselves from any other "dot-com") takes out all those other acquisitions with it. If yahoo reaches a point of shutdown, egroups and many others go with it. THIS would greatly affect the public's perception of the internet. People have gotten used to certain services, and the loss of services that were regularly used is something that may end up devestating the 'net in the public eye (much less wall street); just look at how great the magnitude of complaints was when deja went.

    So now we have our delimna -- how do these services (not the shopping stuff, but the stuff the 'net was made for -- communication and information exchange, via mailing lists) survive when there is no decent business model to pay for it? These things are too big to be run by "volunteers" anymore.

    One successful model is O'Reilly's. Yes, their new "oreillynet.com" pages are advertising based, but for the most part the advertising is for products they know their audience wants -- O'Reilly's books. Their advertising is mostly internal, directing their "web" readers to become "paper" readers. The o'reillynet stuff becomes a donation, strictly for brand recognition.

    IBM's developerworks and alphaworks function the same way -- show people IBM's coding quality and they'll come to IBM for commercial work as well. Sun wanted the same impact from Java, but early on, with "javasoft", they distanced the Java work a bit too much (for some; not enough for others).

    Therefore, Yahoo's only ultimate form of survival is to get someone else to buy them out, and have the site supported by advertising that's mostly oriented to the buyer. This means the buyer can not, in themselves, be an advertising-based site. It has to be something "real", from the old-economy.

    Of course, that's just my opinion...I could be utterly full of shit... ;-)

  • Sorry, bad link (I couldn't tell that it was session-based). Here's the right one:
    http://www.nasdaqnews.com/about/rules/4120.html [nasdaqnews.com]
  • Oh yes. That's funny. But if moderators find it funny too, think about who they will reward with Score:5, Funny. Probably the thing that is funny, not the comment.

    --
  • This is true. Notice, however, that I said these were future possiblities for the internet. It's almost a given that as more and more households get broadband, industries will attempt to make money out of the development in any way possible. Now, it is not feasible to have a 30sec flash intro on top of each commercial site. But, as the buzzwords of "streaming content" and "realtime multimedia internet" actually become viable for the everyday user, companies will no doubt have no hesitations about incorporating bigger, badder, and much more bandwidth intensive advertising into their sites.

  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:08PM (#377877)
    Yahoo's problem is they've diversified WAY beyond their core business. They want to be AOL, in a way. More diversification costs them more and more money, with the payback reaching beyond 2020. Assuming there isn't a disruptive technology that they can't deal with, they'll probably make it.
  • Oh yeah, well, I was on the net back when it was beating slaves to run papyrus tablets from Ur to Jericho.

    Ya think they bothered with banner ads back then? Spam? Flame wars? Fuck no! Papyrus was expensive! besides, you could keep labor costs down by watering down the food supply, or mixing it with dirt. The old joke back then was that bandwidth was dirt cheap! HA HA i crack myself up. Plus, there wasn't all this crazy copyright infringement and intellectual property law crap. Everything belonged to the king. If some author didn't like his scroll copied, the king would gently remind him (not her) who owned the writing. Or the king would just have some lions do it.

    Things were great until God decided to bundle the browser with the OS. Then nobody had any choice but to use their eyes for browsing. Try reading cunieform with IE. They say IE is standards compliant? BULL SHIT I say.
  • The analysis on kuro5hin is incredibly naive and completely misses the point. For any large or even medium scale website, the cost of bandwidth and hardware is only a small/insignificant fraction of the total operating cost.

    The cost of staffing,content generation,and marketing dominate. Take a look at Yahoo's quarterly report:

    http://docs.yahoo.com/docs/pr/4q00income_p.html

    Yahoo spends about 1/3 of its revenue on sales and marketing (and you can assume that they don't do so because they're stupid). Now where is the cost of bandwidth in there? Any analysis that focuses on bandwidth cost completely misses the point, and is suitable only for tiny hobbyist run websites.

  • by Trepalium (109107) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @10:20PM (#377885)
    I'd say that's a rather alamist take on the situation. It's unlikely that the chaos of the 1930s depression will be repeated if for no other reason that there were a number of other factors that severely contributed to it, including the massive droughts. Banking insitutions have changed drastically since then, and measures were put into place long ago to make sure that it doesn't happen like that again. Improved agricultural methods have increased the likelyhood that even in a drought that food can be harvested because of hardier crops, less damaging pesticides and the various automated farming implements. Regardless of what you think of engineered crops, pesticides, etc, few can argue that they haven't improved the efficiency of agriculture.

    Personally, I think (or perhaps "hope" is a better word) this entire tech stock crash is more or less an evening out of the stocks to the level they should be at. Tech stocks have traditionally been far overvalued, even before the internet and dot-com madness. A market that was volitile by nature was being treated as if it was a sure thing.

    Since I'm a Canadian, it doesn't really matter what I think of your politicians, my country's economy gets affected either way.

  • Unfortunately, the banks have worked very hard on getting those 1930s-era restrictions removed, and have mostly succeeded. They have become very aggressive in their lending. Past a certain point, when all of your good borrowers are tapped out, the only way to keep growing a lending business is to lend to poorer and poorer credit risks.

    After enough years of that, credit is so fast and loose that ANYONE can get a loan. Over the next few years you are going to see defaults skyrocket. (Moody's is predicting about a 9.5% corporate bond default rate for 2001, up from the 6.5% last year, which was also up a lot.) Banks are in very weak positions now. They are allowed to have as 'assets', against which they can lend, derivative positions in other assets. The problem with that is that in a crisis, they may not be able to cash in those pieces of paper for what they are listed as being worth. Japan's banking system played similar games with real estate in the 1980s. They are still very shaky and barely solvent ten years later, and Japan is still mired in recession. This is probably not coincidence.

    Basically, our modern banks have found ways to leverage dollars of 'real' money into many, many more 'illusionary' dollars than they are supposed to. The reserve laws are supposed to prevent too much magnification of original money. If there is a 20% reserve rate, for instance, for every 'real' dollar that the Fed lends out (creates) in the economy, about 5 'illusionary' dollars will come into existence. These are all dollars and all spend, but if too many people ask for paper dollars at once there will be problems. (The Fed has come up with systems to inject emergency liquidity which will prevent bank runs like we had in the 1930s. )

    The problem here is that one bank may issue some derivative instrument, say something based somehow on the gold price. Another bank can buy that derivative and list it as an asset and create more illusionary dollars to lend. Basically the banks have managed to do an end run around the liquidity rules and are magnifying the dollars far past what the Fed believes they can do.

    This may be why Greenspan is arguing that money can't be quantified -- he realizes that banks and other large institutions are using all these other pieces of paper to represent dollars and instead of correcting the problem, he just seems to be shrugging his shoulders and accepting it.

    Upshot: the controls put in place in the 1930s have pretty much been dismantled. The risks now of a major meltdown are much higher than I am comfortable with, personally.

    As far as tech stocks being 'traditionally' overvalued, that has been because they grow faster. A P/E multiple of about 20 is considered high but acceptable for growth stocks. I believe the last figure I saw on P/E ratios for the Nasdaq was on the order of 160-1. This was 2 or 3 weeks ago.

    As I was commenting in another forum, I think Nasdaq 500 is a lot more likely in the near term than Nasdaq 5000. Admittedly, 500 is a very low probability event, but 5000 is just about zero IMHO... at least barring enormous inflation. I suspect a reasonable valuation would be somewhere between 800 and 1000, but that's just hunch, no solid numbers behind it.

    I use the terms 'real' and 'illusionary' dollars here, but I by no means consider paper dollars to be real without some kind of backing. Much of the excess of the 1990s would have been impossible with a commodity-backed monetary standard. It doesn't have to be gold, but gold is one of the best substances we've found to use as a guarantor of paper money.

    Fiat currency -- that is, currency that is not real and has no backing -- is simply a method for governments to make horrible financial mistakes and print more money to dig themselves out of the mess they made, screwing their populations in the process.

  • That's an interesting assertion. By 'dollars-in', are you counting labor properly? The small one-person farm does have a lot of labor put into it. Big farms have to buy lots of equipment and hire people, so I'm wondering if they might not be coming out lopsidedly more expensive.

    In most industries scale = efficiency, so I'd be surprised if large farms were actually less productive *if they use the same methods to farm*. Big if. :-)

  • You are right, I may be mistaken there. However, when considering debt load, don't forget stock options. Yahoo has passed those out like water, and this will reduce the investors' share value significantly.

    Also, I have read that Yahoo's balance sheet is very weak, and that they held so much stock in so mnay other companies that they were more like a mutual fund than an Internet company. Are you sure that is 2 billion in cash, or is it 2 billion that they spent for other stocks?

  • The ones that I find particularly offensive are the fake error messages. While obvious to you and me, they actually confuse older people who are struggling to keep their heads above water when using a computer. A friend's mother has, on more than one occasion, pressed the button in a fake error banner ad thinking that it was a legitimate error message. The resulting *crap* confused the hell out of her and resulted in a bewildered call to her son.

    The people placing those ads need to be slapped with a class action lawsuit from nerds everywhere that have had to help elderly, confused relatives who fell for this ploy.

  • The NASDAQ suspended trading, not Yahoo! themselves. They can halt trading [nasdr.com] for several reasons, most commonly for "news pending" like they did here (i.e. wait up, something big is about to be announced) or when NASDAQ asks the company for more information.

    "News pending" halts are common -- companies are required to tell NASDAQ before they release any substantial news, and NASDAQ determines whether it merits a trading halt. So maybe you could say Yahoo! suspended trading indirectly, but NASDAQ was the one who actually halted trading.

    The NASDAQ "requesting further information" and halting trading, however, is usually an indication of a substantial irregularity, either in the market or with a company.

  • Ever tried to use one of those godforsaken URL submission applications, the ones that take your page and spams a bunch of spiders with it?

    Or heaven forbid, have you paid for their paid search engine submission packages?

    Wouldn't it be nice if somebody just collected links to all the "Add URL" pages for the engines in one place so you could quickly do manual submissions? If you just had links to click on, and you had a text window open that you could copy and paste your info from (URL, description, email), then you could do manual submission much quicker than using one of these applications.

    And you won't run into the barriers the search engines put up against URL submission bots.

    Here you go:

    Leave your tip in the jar.


    Mike [goingware.com]

  • Exactly!! I don't see why the advertisers don't get his. Just because I don't click on the ad doesn't mean I didn't read it, and might be interested in that product later. Does that mean the advertisement was not successful? Of course not.

    ---

  • considering most of Yahoo is based on its once highly visited search engines, lets face it, google kicks its ass on searching

    You don't pay much attention, do you? Yahoo's searching is powered by Google. Does Google kick its own ass then?

    Yahoo is one ugly ass website nowadays

    On the contrary, Yahoo is the only site that sticks valiantly by its principles and delivers excellent content in pages that are fast and easy to use. You can actually use Yahoo on a modem, with an older browser. I love that.

    Yahoo can't offer much that newer websites can

    Name one website that offers the breadth and quality of services that Yahoo has. MSN? Nope. AOL? Nope. Not every single piece of the Yahoo site is the absolute best of its kind, but as a whole it is an amazingly useful piece site. I wish there were more like it.

  • Why can't companys stick with an idea or two and make it better?

    Because these companies hire on big blowhard executives who want to surround themselves with sycophant junior executives and those sycophant junior execs all want to justify their jobs so they spend all their time coming up with as many bullshit ideas as they can pull out of their butt and the CEO wants to go public and make millions of dollars so he starts blowing out all kinds of bullshit to the banks and investors about how bloating their site out with all kinds of useless crap will somehow equate to a larger consumer audience and thus infinite amounts of revenue and then they go public and the stakes are raised even higher now that you have a bunch of whiney stockholders to please etc etc..

    Haven't ever worked in corporate America?

  • The Internet has vastly decreased the value of data. What would once take many hours of research in esoteric tomes can now be found with a few taps on the keyboard.

    In the early days of the Internet, people thought that content would be value, and would bring in customers, which could be sold to advertisers. That failed miserably: see Slate, for example. In the slightly-later-but-still-early days of the Internet, people thought that sites that aggregated a lot of data would bring in customers... which could be sold to advertisers.

    Neither of these business models seem to work well in the long run. If the value of what you have keeps plummeting, it's hard to grow enough new stuff to keep your value.

    Yahoo mostly serves as an Internet directory: a set of links to other sites. (Yes, I'm aware of their webmail, groups, chatrooms, auctions, job listings, and many other items.) In other words, it has mounds and mounds of data, and a well-thought-out way to index that data.

    However, that data is not necessarily information. And information, collated and digested, is what people need.

    I would put far more faith in the financial stability of something like QuestionExchange than in Yahoo -- if that QuestionExchange were more broad. Something that, given a question, will retrieve information -- not data. Those kinds of services will always remain pay services because they cannot be automated: they require human intervention.

  • Why can't companys stick with an idea or two and make it better?

    To a certian extent, Yahoo! is. Waaaay back in the day, Yahoo! was just a search engine, nothing more.

    A few years ago, they turned into a portal and haven't changed much since then. Since a portal is an end all, be all place to do everything Yahoo! had to offer many many services and purchase other companies in order to be the best portal there is.

    There's nothing wrong with Yahoo! per se, however being a big player in the Portal market takes a lot of money.

  • The bottom line is banner revenues can be sufficient for profit potential if you play your cards right.

    Think about how much money Yahoo must burn on its day to day operations, versus the amount of times people will actually visit the site. I don't think 10% of its visitors will follow a link, and considering most of Yahoo is based on its once highly visited search engines, lets face it, google kicks its ass on searching, Yahoo is one ugly ass website nowadays, Yahoo can't offer much that newer websites can, and those newer websites' operational costs are bound to be a fraction of that of Yahoo's

    Popular sites like slashdot have a high enough CPM to stay more than just afloat. I'm surprised Yahoo hasn't been able to say the same

    Your forgetting one key principle, most revenue is generated on click throughs, which most people ignore. If I'm coming to /. to post or read an article I may open a quick link for my browser in order to support the cause, but I'm mainly interested in one thing, and watching ads is not one of them.
  • Wow.

    I was about to post to this, then I read your post. So, instead of being completey redundant, I thought I'd just say thanks.

    I wonder just how many have gone through the same evolution of browsing - Yahoo to AltaVista to Google. I also wonder what will be next in the evolution, or will Google find a way to evolve that is more effective than their predecessors?

    With the rapidly ever-changing beast that the web is, and I'm sure always will be, is there anything out there that will really last, anything that will really have a true "tradition"? I suppose sunsite turned metalab turned ibiblio (is this current or have they changed again? ;) ) might be the closest thing I can think of, but as they are tied to academia, that might be one reason they are not as prone to the changes of economics.

    Or, I might be full of it.

    ...and there you have it.

  • The 'big news' that lead to the Yahoo shares freeze is now being reported. Tim Koogle (CEO) is leaving the company.

    Click here for story, as told by Salon [salon.com]

  • Kuro5hin means Kuroshin in l33t-speak... As to what Kuroshin means, I can't help you there...
  • by TheDullBlade (28998) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:35PM (#377916)
    What it says is that some rare websites that provide almost nothing yet inexplicably get tons of hits can be profitable. You can't just decide you'll be run such a site, you need either genius or luck, and probably a bit of both now.

    Incidentally, it says these things using made-up numbers and ignoring the most important issues such as attracting good quality hits and the cost of actually producing content.

    Basically, the article says nothing more than that advertising sometimes pays more you spend than hosting and bandwidth, sometimes not. It's hardly a rousing defense of banner ad based business models.
    ---
  • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:37PM (#377918) Homepage Journal
    Yahoo is being hurt by the decline in the banner ad marketplace. But that's not the whole story.

    The basic fact is, Yahoo is badly run. I've posted previous rants [slashdot.org] about their software's shortcomings. I had assumed that they were profitable anyway, but I appear to be mistaken. The report that they're in trouble completes a familiar picture.

    Yahoo was the first big Dot Com, and thus the first target of overenthusiastic Dot Com get-rich-quick hysteria. Now, if anything is bad for a company, it's having a lot of over-eager investors throw money at it. The company has to grow quickly, regardless of the negative effects, in order to justify all that investment. Plus, management has no incentive to control costs. So you get growth-by-acquisition, overlapping projects that don't complement each other, initiatives that are ramped up before they are fully debugged, etc., etc.

    If I were a Yahoo investor, I'd be terribly concerned. But as a Yahoo user, I'm actually kind of encouraged. Yahoo is too well-established to follow Infoseek into Portal Oblivion, and this kind of reality check will make for a better operation.

    __________________

  • by drix (4602) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:38PM (#377919) Homepage
    I invite you to further the decline of such companies by visiting Guidescope [guidescope.com]. Some may remember the Junkbusters, who used to put out an adfiltering proxy called, cryptically, "Internet Junkbuster". Since then they've moved that operation to this new company. Ad blocking is much improved because all proxies now turn to a centrally maintained database of ad's instead of using simple RegExs. I've had great results with Windows & Linux using it. Also they are very good about privacy. Check it out.

    --
  • Hehe .. a "me-too" post, how sad. Anyway, I also kept my e-mail address at geocities. Can't remember having any problems. There was a problem when they tried to change their TOS to that draconian "we own your stuff" one, but enough people bitched about it and up and left geocities (I was busy packing myself) that they changed the TOS back to more friendly terms. Thats the only problem I remember having. I must say though I get an absurd amount of junk email on my geocities address. Although I haven't been very careful with it in the past (newsgroup and webbots :( ), so I can't rightly blame Yahoo for that.

    So I'll have to vote for A as well.

  • I tHiNk yoU bEtter get a NeW 1nE.

  • And here Yahoo is putting up these nice, shiny, new buildings here in Sunnyvale. I work at Lockheed Martin Space Systems [lmco.com]. Formerly Lockheed Missiles & Space, after the merger with Martin-Marietta we found ourselves with this enormous plant in a new corporate culture that simply did not conceive of plants this size. So parcels of land began to get sold off, and one of them was bought by Yahoo. One of their new buildings sits on the former site of our old Employee Recreation facility. (Which buildings, incidentally, despite the current power crunch and the fact that they are as yet completely unoccupied, have all functioning lights on 24/7.) They're right across the street from VA Linux's old offices.

    They're boring as hell, with lots of turquoise panels, and look like they were designed by the same guy who did the Juniper Networks buildings down the street -- which also sit on former Lockheed-Martin land. But they sit next to Lockheed-Martin buildings which were all constructed with overhead money from government contracts, so they look real good by comparison.

    I think this is all a ploy by our management, which must be cleverer than it looks, to get some nice new buildings for free, or even with a small profit. Sell the cute little .com the land, let them put their buildings up on it, and then buy it back at a discount when they go under due to the inherent flaws in their business plan. I give them another 3 years at most.

  • Are you sure that is 2 billion in cash, or is it 2 billion that they spent for other stocks?

    According to the AP story I read on Yahoo finance (I know, I know... take it with a grain of salt if you want, but it's still an AP story) it's 2 billion in cash, which they plan on using to weather the next few years of breaking even and moderate losses (their words.)

  • I found out about PenguinComputing, and eventually purchased my first dedicated linux box from them, via seeing their advert on slashdot.

    Of course, two months later they were acquired by VA Linux and PenguinComputing's ad-rates have shrunk quite a bit since then... ;-)

  • Amazon will survive. They have a way of making actual money: profit off book sales. And they don't have to cut their margins to the bone: they aren't the cheapest book site on the Web by any means, but they use convenience to keep their customers.

    Yes, I know the one-click patent is evil. I'm not discussing what should be here, but what I think will be.
    --
  • by n3bulous (72591) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:19PM (#377943)
    I doubt slashdot would run this poll, but how about:

    Slashdot Banner Advertising:

    a) I have clicked on /. ads.
    b) I have research a product/company after viewing/clicking on an ad.
    c) I have bought something from the advertising company because of (one way or another) the ad.
    d) JunkBuster!

  • by zaius (147422) <jeff@@@zaius...dyndns...org> on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:20PM (#377944)
    Actually, for sites like slashdot, that could add up to tens of thousands of dollars a day.

    But realistically, US$.1 (ten cents if you're stupid) is too much for a micropayment. Sure, /. may make $100,000 dollars in a day (1 million pageviews), but I don't want to pay $6 of that every day!

    If 10 cent micropayments became the standard, people would stop using the internet because it'd be to frickin expensive...

  • by Fervent (178271) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:41PM (#377947)
    You forgot my favorite one: the words "Click for More". I remember my second internship, my first with an internet company, and how the CEO of our 3-person startup said the words "Click for more" are psychologically proven to get more click-throughs. "People don't know where to click". Right.

    But look at most mass media sites. The majority of banners will say something akin to "Click for More" or "Click Here". Obviously it works if every other site is doing it, right?

    I remember the pinacle of annoyance for me was seeing *every* Berst Alert NewsAnchor article at CNet being peppered with "Click for More"s. Up and down the page. Like we didn't notice he was trying to get more site traffic. I was so relieved when other people took over the column a month or two ago.

  • by gadwale (46632) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:41PM (#377948) Homepage
    ...and no debt.

    Given that the economy is slowing down and all the dot coms are going belly up, yahoo may still be the best kind of stock to hold because of it's strong balance sheet and diverse nature and upwards potential as a e company with experience.

    Remember, 2 billion is a LOT of money and the rest of the market isn't doing great either.
  • by agentZ (210674) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:20PM (#377949)
    Yahoo's search engine (for web pages) is powered by Google...
  • I hope this is true, speaking as a programmer working for a non dot.com start up. Unfortunatly, all the money invested in Donkeyhumper.com means VCs are poorer (having lost a lot of cash), and wary about new startup investments. Rather than simply admit that Donkeyhumper.com was a bad idea, many seem to lump all startups together as having been "too risky".

    In our case, we are in the process of securing additional funding, and the VCs are wanting considerably more stock for their investment. As we will be needing that money to pay bills really soon, I suspect we are screwed.
  • You forgot:

    • Advertisement does not lead to content. Too often clicking on an advertisement that proclaims a specific thing leads only to the website, not the specific thing.
  • by alewando (854) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:47PM (#377955)
    Kuro5hin has an interesting piece [kuro5hin.org] on the economics of ad revenues. The bottom line is banner revenues can be sufficient for profit potential if you play your cards right. Popular sites like slashdot have a high enough CPM to stay more than just afloat. I'm surprised Yahoo hasn't been able to say the same.
  • Of course, we ALL know that Outlook is horrible. What has that got to do with Yahoo? ;-)



    --

  • by jrs (27486)
    All these web sites start off with a simple idea, and just keep adding more features, and buying other companys. I'm sure yahoo's bandwidth and other costs are just impossible to imagine.

    Why can't companys stick with an idea or two and make it better?
  • by Daemosthenes (199490) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:49PM (#377960)
    It seems to me that the industry as a whole is moving away from the largely ineffectual revenue collection system of banner ads. I foresee the advent of subscription based pay services, micropayments, and perhaps even internet "commercials"

    Subscription based pay services are obvious. Check out strategy.com [strategy.com] They provide subscription based services to a number of online businesses, which are then used by the end users of each business.

    Micropayments are relatively simple as well; using a standardized system such as paypal, each website could charge a fee, such as $.1 per page view. For a site like /., that could add up to 3000$ a day.

    Last is the possibility of internet "commercials". These would merely be much more immersive banner ads, similar to what is shown on TV now. Before accesing the site, the browser would first have to view a 30 second flash movie from a sponsor, for example.

    These are only some of the many future revenue possibilities...

  • Well, they might not be doing too bad. The last keyboard I bought was $5 -- and it's only marginally less comfortable then the $60 Alps Wave I'm typing on right now.

    If you figure that the retail markup is 30-50%, this is fairly cheap advertising.

    Too bad they aren't taking any more orders for this keyboard!
  • by Sarin (112173) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:50PM (#377963) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps they should make their banners bigger..
    Just a though.

  • http://slashdot.org/articles/01/01/11/2153202.shtm l

    You mean that article? From three months ago?
  • ...that there is a fixed amount of money that can be used for advertising, and you can't spread that over an infinite number of inane web sites. One company that actually produces and sells a product can't very well support 100 web sites that make all of their revenue from advertising.

    I mean, Yahoo is a more useful site than most, but I certainly don't use it to do my shopping. This whole "recession" thing is just caused by people understanding that the "millions of revenue from advertising" business model is fundamentally flawed (at least if too many people use it).
  • Today's poster child, Yahoo, is a great example. It was probably a completely sustainable business if built the normal way (reinvestment of revenue), but their vast debt load will likely destroy them

    The only problem with this statement is Yahoo HAS no debt, and in fact has $2,000,000,000 (that's Billion) in the bank.

    Not to say that the rest of your comment wasn't on target, but I think Yahoo is actually one of the few dotcoms that has been run with a real world economic mindset--let's face it, how many other dotcoms have turned a profit at ALL?

  • Yahoo's ex-CEO, Tim Koogle, signs up with Google... Mr Koogle says "I categorically deny that my taking on the role of CEO of Google has anything at all to do with Google's plans to change its name to Koogle".

    rr

  • I have been on the net since '85, when it was usenet news and uucp transfers to the few lucky places that had a live IP connection.

    I got one of the first personal 56 kb frane relay sites back in 95. I ran a small hosting site that put some small organizations on the net for the first time. Banner ads were unheard of then.

    Our html was simple. No flashing animation to soak bandwidth and irritate the reader. You could understand what a web site was trying to say with only using lynx. Try that now. I did. Often you get gibberish. Too bad. Lynx and simple web sites would be great for the palm tops and wireless devies.

    I never did need the so called clubs and chat rooms. We had the ultimate forum. Usenet. In fact, I still use usenet today. I am a little sad that it has been pushed to the back of the shelf behind the glitzy Yahoo's; Deja's; and other .com's. It was also free of spam and needless flame junk.

    Perhaps may we witness the re-birth of Usenet?

    If the likeness of Yahoo, AOL, Deja, Excite, and the other biggies were to go away; I think things will get very interesting.

  • e)CowboyNeal
    "Me Ted"
  • by pb (1020)
    Obviously not you. In the future, please do not read my posts.

    I would have reserved an extra-long boring comment for you, but sadly you did not provide me with enough information to write about.

    In the future please provide Your Real Name, Your E-Mail Address, Your Home Phone Number, Your Credit Card Number, and a one-hundred word essay about Why I'm Such An Asshole On Slashdot.

    Thank you.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • Yeah, this is news, but so is a new class-action suit against VA Linux (March 3rd)

    2001-03-03 04:28:20 Class action lawsuit against VA Linux (articles,va) (rejected)

    So when there is bad news about Yahoo, it gets published, but not when it's about VA?

    This almost causes me to question journalistic integrity.

    (Have No Score +1 Bonus checked because people will scream off-topic, but the issue needs to be addressed somewhere)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:23PM (#377978)
    Yahoo paid 4 billion dollars to buy the hoe addresses of all the geocities members and their real email addresses. Well over 10,000 dollars per fake name. When Microsoft bough Hotmail for over a billion They paid 10,000 dollars for my fake home address too. When Network solutions was bought for 20 billion dollars last year to get access to the contact list of everyone and their street addresses they also paid 15,000 dollars per address but at least they were 98% correct (mine was fake, so I ripped of Verisign by 15,000 too).

    One of theose fake contact email names was only known to Yahoo when they bought this database and now my hotmail address known only to yahoo-geocities gets 20 spams a day. They then told me in threatening letters repeatedly that I had to accept a new service pollicy to continue my free POP mail at Geocities.com and worse... change my NAME!!! Thats right! they wanted me to use xxx@yahoo.com even though a HTTP email user already had been using xxx@yahoo.com YEARS AFTER I was on the web on geocities as a geocities pioneer. I would have to change the front and back of my email address, and they threatened to stop forwarding geocities mail even though it takes no effort for them. I was outraged and figured out tricks to continue successfully receiving AND SENDING my POP mail using geocities mail for about two more years. It was my precious identity and official business email (anonymous). I even used it for Internic contacts for domains to prevent hackers from stealing my entire server to be able to change domain admin rights. But finally... sometime in august they fucking killed it all. AFTER over SIX YEARS of steady daily usage! Yahoo has no phone numbers, except sales, and driving to the silicon valley would be no good, because I would probably be so angry I would beat a Yahoo admin to death with my fists. This is an outrage. YAHOO KILLED GEOCITIES. They did it with 4 billion cash. Was it worth it? I shorted yahoo 10 times in my life, making money a few times and then losing my ass by over 100K other times. I hate yahoo more than any person on this planet, except maybe ex employees and their competitors. They never had technology. They Used Altavista and others for their engines, they thwarted the DMOZ, they are unresponsive, thier stock quoates and all other services are contracted out, They have nothing. Their stock is FINALLY hitting 95% less market cap, the same as nearly 90% of all other dot coms. I hope they crash and burn.

    They ruined my life and took away my POP email. I want yahoo to get to $5.
  • by TrinSF (183901) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:51PM (#377979)
    Actually, no. The article on K5 is still overestimating the revenue from targetted banner ads, because he's basing his estimates on published rates currently available.

    Unfortunately, those rates don't mean anything in the current advertising climate. I used to work for dot-com with a revenue stream based almost entirely on advertising revenue with targeted banner ads. (I say used to because they had to lay off half their staff in January, because of the CPM rate crash.)$20 CPMs were possible a year ago, and $6-10 CPM's maybe 6 months ago -- but right now, CPM rates are so low, that even for targeted banner ads in higher-than-average click-through settings, they're still barely breaking $1.00 CPM. 60 *cents* isn't unheard of.

    So, redo the math, reducing ad revenue by a power of 10, (because of his inflated CPM rates of $4-10) and you get more in the ballpark. Further, advertisers are trying to push towards an entirely per-click payment model, which can be quite abyssmal, revenue-wise -- and doesn't take into account all we know about the value of brand recognition over time, etc.

    All you have to do is graph the decrease over the course of a year, from $20.00 CPMs to 60 cent ones, and you'll see why Yahoo's in trouble.
  • Neilson the TV ratings people also do internet ratings.
    -
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:25PM (#377981)
    Kuro5hin, or K5 is l33t-speak for corrosion, or rust. The explanation behind this is that Rusty, one of the site admins, caught tetanus when Inoshiro, one of the other site admins, violently fucked him with a rusty metal dildo.

    Hope this helps!

  • There is no 'Value Add' to what Yahoo provides.

    Well, I know you are referring to yahoo, the indexing service, but Yahoo mail actually has some clue.. For free you get a mail account and 6MB of storage. For folks like me that like to archive most/all mail, you can pay $19.95/year for a 20MB mailbox. You can also point your domain there (email@joeschmoe.com) for a fee. I can't think of examples off hand of how they could apply this to other areas, but it seems to me like the way to go.

    That said, there are some dumb moves. To get POP access to your yahoo mail box you have to sign up for this "yahoo delivers!" service which sends solicited spam to you once or twice a week. I'd much rather have the option to pay a couple more bucks a year and gain POP access.

    I think yahoo just has too much dead weight. Yahoo's chat, messenger, mail, and web index are all good. The rest I could do without.

    Shayne

  • by GigsVT (208848) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:54PM (#377984) Journal
    All public companies have public accounting records, that detail what they are doing with their money.

    You don't think that we are expected to buy a stock without knowing where the money is and what they are doing with it, do you?

    Go look up their balance sheet on fool.com, it will have all the deatils of their money situation.
    -


  • The Internet is such a great thing, but one thing many seem to overlook is that it is not a neccessity. For years people have lived without the net, and while it does make live easier, it is just like a car, cell phone, etc., a novelty.

    Mid to Late 90's Venture Capital firms went ballistic funding companies that were gone faster than they had came. Recent days VC is dried up as people are realizing their is no immediate ghastly halt of life for anyone without the Internet.

    Keeping afloat is a hard thing to do when you have bills to pay and revenues from ads just wont cut it. Its not like television where a broadcaster can sell the rights to programs that are in syndication and make revenue off of reruns. Banner ads are not all they once claimed or hoped to be and many companies were under the impression it would last forever. Companies whose revenues fell under this scheme suffered and are suffering most, since there's much more competition meaning ads are flooded and are likely to be meaningless.

    Yahoo has outlasted many dot.coms and the decision to step down as CEO was IMHO a wise move. Think about it, where else is Yahoo going to get revenue from, selling webspace, email accounts, stock quotes? There isn't much out there on the net right now, and until the next best thing comes along many other sites without a surefire business model will all end up on FuckedCompany [fuckedcompany.com]

    Free Porn [antioffline.com] (oh by the way its ad free too)
  • If Yahoo is feeling the banner pinch, how is slashdot.org dealing with this reality? Has the banner dynamic changed here yet?


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~ the real world is much simpler ~~
  • by electricmonk (169355) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:54PM (#377991) Homepage
    The Register has a story on it over here [theregister.co.uk]. Apparently, Yahoo! suspended its shares today. A rather drastic move.

  • But as a portal, they ROCK. I'm sorry, I don't know what I'd do without my.yahoo.com. It's a nice place for a public box to keep spam from my email. Mine has customized sports, free fantasy leagues, tv schedule, alubumn releases, saved news clippers, movie listings, yellow pages, directions, contacts/address book/calendar (regulrarly sychronized with my outlook at home and work with a free plugin), snow reports for ski areas I go to, weather for my area... whatever. I LOVE IT. Even there shopping portal is pretty good. I don't even get any spam from them.
    ---
  • by sulli (195030)
    People have been predicting micropayments for many, many years, and they haven't happened. Why? User hostile! People HATE being nickel-and-dimed. And since advertising isn't dead, content providers will stick with what (approximately) works. There will just be a more rational pool of advertising funds, so there will be a shakeout - which is perfectly normal.

    If this means that some crappy sites [msnbc.com] don't survive, too bad!

  • If Yahoo is feeling the banner pinch, how is slashdot.org dealing with this reality

    Target demographics. Right now I'm looking at an ad that says "wanna try out Linux and FreeBSD on Compaq technology? click here www.testdrive.compaq.com. Compaq New Technologies Test Drive Program" You know they are paying prime dollar for the slashdot eyeballs.

    Incidentally, one cool PC gaming website I like, www.shacknews.com (formerly shugashack) has started asking for donations so they can make it past tax day, due to a sudden shortfall caused by their banner company (UGO) not paying them since November. Apparently they broke Amazon's donation system due to too much load, but they also use paypal or you can send a check. I'm actually thinking of doing it... A lot of gaming sites are getting screwed over by the situation.

  • Waaaay back in the day, Yahoo! was just a search engine, nothing more.

    Actually, no. Way back in the day, Yahoo! was a web directory. They offered a modified grep to search their directory, not the contents of the pages in their directory.

    They added search functionality in a partnership, first with Open Text [opentext.com] (my beloved OTI [opentext.net]...sigh...), then with Alta Vista [altavista.com], now with Google [google.com]. [ There may have been others in the mix...I got away from search engines for a while...sigh...;-) ]

  • The Internet has vastly decreased the value of data.
    Decreased the value of data, or decreased the cost of data? The data still has the same intrinsic value to the person searching for it, but has a much smaller associated cost to retrieve.
  • I think part of this is the fact that most of these internet startups got into the same kind of problems. Like Amazon, they've branched out into all kinds of unrelated directions, and as such, each branch costs a lot more to operate as a part of the entire company that it would individually. Amazon, for example, stopped being a specialty book store, and turned into a general anything-you-want store. Unfortunately, the book selection, the REASON you'd normally shop at Amazon.com suffered. Yahoo has become the same. They have Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Actions, Yahoo Stores, Yahoo News, Yahoo Instant Messanger, and of course, the Yahoo Index and search engine.

    Diversity is a great for many things, but as a business plan, it usually stinks. Both Yahoo and Amazon would've been further ahead to partner with someone else to provide those services instead of providing them themselves.

  • by bugg (65930) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @07:07PM (#377999) Homepage
    No, I don't. I'm talking about a Wolf Haldenstein lawsuit, that article talks about a Milberg Weiss lawsuit.

    Yes, VA has more than one class action lawsuit pending, but we don't hear about most of them here.

  • by GigsVT (208848)
    So you are saying there is less information on the net now, than there was when it was completely government funded?

    Like it or not, services cost money, a whole lot more money than the $20-$30 a month you pay for last mile service. For people to be able to offer information and still be able to eat, they have to make money. You can either pay for all of it, whether you use it or not, through taxes, or you can pay for only what you use.

    You tell me what is better.
    -

  • by Skyshadow (508) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:55PM (#378006) Homepage
    The death of all these .coms is actually a good thing, long term, for the tech industry.

    Consider: 98% of all the .com businesses were either terminally bad ideas (delivering pet food) or way overfunded. Since there is only a finite amount of venture capital out there, the fact that donkeyhumper.com was getting 10 million in funding meant that some other business was not. Hopefully, this downturn and the death of most .com businesses will mean that VCs will start investing money in relistic (as opposed to trendy) businesses.

    This goes hand-in-hand with the need for the VCs to be a little more careful with their money -- even deserving tech startups have spent the last few years flushing money down the toilet in a way that would make any other industry blush; do we really need on-site wine tastings?

    Anyhow, this downturn will hopefully bring the tech boom a bit closer to earth and, in doing so, ensure that the economic good times stay with us a bit longer.

    ----

  • by ekrout (139379) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:55PM (#378007) Journal
    Profit is possible, but I guess (quite similar to the O'Reilly story from earlier today) that a company (Yahoo, in this case) can only add so many more features, employees, etc. until their costs greatly outweigh the maximum amount of funds they can realistically receive from showing banner ads. The clickthrough rate on ads has, I'm sure, been determined by now, and companies who wish to have their ads shown know exactly how many times they'll actually be clicked, that is, exactly how many times their message (about a new product, website, or the like) will be heard. Yahoo *should* be making money, but because they care too much about giving users an excellent Web experience, their outrageous spending to give the people everything they want (for free, mind you) is bitting them in the butt. It's ashame that such a great portal and innovating website can't get the message across to users that they do need a little monetary support every once in awhile.

  • by pb (1020) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:56PM (#378009)
    I remember Yahoo fondly from the early days of the web. Back then, it had a well-structured directory of links that was maintained by hand. It was a quality site, and had links the vast majority of useful sites for a given area. It was a lot easier to go to Yahoo to find something than it was to click your way down whatever path you were used to, going through maybe six sites instead of one.

    However, times have changed. Now Yahoo is yet another Cheesy Portal Site [slashdot.org], and you'll notice that the article is entirely about their stock price, their public perception, their CEO, blah, blah, blah... And nothing about their customers, their technology, and the useful service they provide.

    That's because they don't provide a useful service anymore. Instead, they're partners with people who do provide a useful service. After the web started getting too large for Yahoo to handle, AltaVista became popular. It was a showcase for DEC's Alpha computers, showing how powerful they were by how they efficiently searched and indexed millions of web pages, and found your queries. The best part about altavista.digital.com, though, was the query structure, for instance being able to say "+host:slashdot" and search for posts...

    So, for a while, when Yahoo needed a real search engine, they used AltaVista's, I believe. I'm not sure because by then I had switched over to AltaVista anyhow. But that too eventually turned into a cheesy portal site, although it looks better recently. However, now Yahoo uses Google for their searching, as well as having their own tree of links that people submit.

    Google, however, actually *does* have innovative technology, and hasn't sold out quite yet. They also use the Open Directory project as the basis for their web directory, and have a high quality tree of links reminiscent of how Yahoo used to. But the really useful features are their "PageRank" technology, which takes links into account when indexing, and their Cache, which often is the only way to find things that have been taken off the web.

    So, sadly, new useful web sites will often give into the money, and their quality will go downhill. (not mentioning any names here ;) But that seems to be the way the world works, and all we can do is cultivate the young upstarts to bring us the technology of tomorrow, so we can enjoy today again.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • by jockm (233372) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:56PM (#378011) Homepage
    Yahoo did not suspend trading of shares, NASDAQ did. The exchange has the right to do this if trading gets too volitile...

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