Thursday, July 19, 2012

10 things Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer should do and shouldn't do

There are two overarching themes to Yahoo. First that it wants to be about content when it comes to consumers and second it has a strong presence in the small business segment. With that in mind here are some ideas for new CEO Marissa Mayer.

Make a play for VEVO. They are not happy with Google and YouTube. Maybe Yahoo Music can be the place people go for music and music videos. Instead of being the place people come from before going to YouTube for their music. By the way, improve video service on Yahoo. It takes too long to load, if it can at all. Pressing Refresh refreshes the browser, does the opposite to the user.

Don't be a social network. Yahoo is about content, right? Be social and make current content readily available and shared by Facebook and Google+ users. Yes, there is Facebook integration on Yahoo. But why is Yahoo driving users to them instead of using Facebook to drive users to your content?
Also make it easy for your users to share existing content. For example, make e-mail messages sharable if consented to by the sender and recipient. Or anybody else who is quoted within. The basic tech to do that is there. Key thing is to make more Yahoo content more readily linkable from Google+ or Facebook. Work with Pintrest so that Yahoo content looks good on Pintrest. Use other social media to drive users to your content.

Comment filtering on comment forums needs to be better.  Make it so that people blocked on one article are automatically blocked or their comments hid on other articles. This way, your users don't need to be bothered by people whom they already disagree with. Yahoo comments forums are becoming loud, crass and where everyone gets to do a Bill O'Reilly impression. People want news and opinions, just not everybody's else's. Engagement would go up if people can customize their experience. Another suggestion: float comments by Facebook friends to the top. We value what our friends think.

Do the news for MSN. Tell Microsoft that Yahoo will take care of the news for MSN so that they can focus on Windows 8, Window RT, Surface tablets and the fallout that will follow. Yahoo have content with their ties-up with ABC. Feed all that through to MSN. Remember that they are thee social network and Yahoo is about content.  

Don't forget the small business market. Provide more services to the small business segment. Create a marketplace framework. One that can be used by existing customers to find each other and communicate and transact business securely. Help them do that easily. Businessmen like to be the one who makes decisions. Let them do that and offer to take care of the rest. They trust Yahoo for their business. Leverage that trust. Small business also like things piecemeal. Give them what they want and just what they want.

Since Yahoo does have a lot of small business customers and consumers, why not make that work together. Small businesses have a high turnover of staff. Identity management is a luxury. Offer them a service to integrate their consumer Yahoo identity with their employer's business account. Let users login into their company's mail account with their Yahoo identity. Or any other services Yahoo is offering to small businesses. Do you small business customer's identity management for them. Because Google and Facebook have started making a grab for user's identity, an asset Yahoo has already.

Beef up YahooMessenger.  It's a spam zone right now and users are annoyed. Most have left. Make it better or kill it. If YM is to be relevant, there has to be a reason for people to use it. Make it so that people can read their Twitter streams as well as messages. Or allow users to get customizable or filtered  notifications on YM.

Now this is out of the box: Buy RIM and start making Yahoo! phones for consumers and Y!Biz phones for businesses. Resists the temptation (and friendly suggestion from close pals) to make them run on Windows Phone 8. Keep making them where they are now and the trust from business will remain. Also, they do have some cool patents. Who knows, maybe you can even merge BBIM with YM.

Finally, innovate. Yahoo needs to do something new, to be the company that people want to interact with, to do business with, to be excited about. Which means rocking the boat a bit. Like TV. People want their entertainment and TV ala-carte. Advertisers want to reach more people or reach specifically more people. What can Yahoo do to make the two meet? What can Yahoo do to deliver TV content that is both integrated socially?


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