Yahoo!, the quirky name with an exclamation mark, is my choice for the letter Y, for today’s #AtoZChallenge, for the theme ‘Brands that people identify with’.
Founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Electrical Engineering students in Stanford University, Yahoo was initially known as Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web. The Guide, which was a directory of other websites organized in a hierarchy, shaped up into the Yahoo search engine and was renamed as Yahoo! in 1995.
What started out as a hobby grew up to be an interactive Web portal into the World Wide Web and soon after the website went viral, Yahoo began selling advertising space on their sites.
The company went public in 1996. Offerings news, entertainment, e-commerce services, email services, Yahoo became a one stop for information. One could find almost any service or news on Yahoo.com
Much before the Gmail came, I used my first personal email id on the Yahoo and the first messenger that I used was Yahoo messenger.
The burst of dot-com bubble caused a major setback to Yahoo. While recovering from the setback, Yahoo formed partnerships to create content-rich broadband services and it also began to bolster its search services. We saw Yahoo upgrading the storage of all free Yahoo Mail accounts from 4 MB to 1 GB, in response to Google’s release of Gmail.
By 2005, Yahoo was the Internet’s largest communications and community company, a full-fledged media company with a search capability, in contrast to Google whose core capability revolved around its search engine.
In a bid to differentiate Yahoo Image search from Google, Yahoo acquired Flickr in 2005. Yahoo even started its blogging and social networking service Yahoo 360°, in select geographies in 2005, but they closed it down in 2009.
Following a failed takeover bid by Microsoft in 2008, Yahoo entered into a partnership with Microsoft in 2009 for using Microsoft’s search technology, and in turn managing banner advertising for both companies.
Carol Batz, who took over as the CEO in 2009, said that she struggled with the question of what Yahoo is, and after talking to users in 10 countries, Yahoo executives concluded that users consider it their “home on the Internet.”
Most of Yahoo’s revenue comes from activities related to online display advertising. With Google and Facebook taking away market share in selling online graphical and video ads, Yahoo is losing ground. With a medley of offerings from search to content, it seems to be losing its unique identity.
Today, Yahoo is going through a redesign under the direction of its CEO Marissa Mayer. To reinvigorate the Yahoo brand, and strengthen its identity, CEO Marissa Mayer has made acquisitions such as the blogging website Tumblr.
Yahoo a product of the late 1990s dot-com boom is a name familiar to all net users, but it needs to be meaningful to its users in some novel way and carve out a niche for itself again.
Reference: Yahoo and Amazon: Building a Competitive Advantage Strayer University, Dr Corbin
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