Last week, I dealt with the sad occurrence of my father-in-law's passing. The funeral brought together people from throughout the country because in addition to his job, his passion was coaching young swimmers, many of whom attribute their success to tenets they learned from him. For 40 years, despite few financial resources and subpar facilities, he churned out national champions year after year, earning him a National Swim Coach of the Year title. His protégés conjure up words like "strength," "tapping potential," "determination," "outworking the competition," and "fight" to describe what this man taught them.
I can't help but think of these words when I consider a potential Microsoft-Yahoo merger. I don't think the merger would be a positive thing for our industry. So I'm glad Yahoo rejected the offer, following my late father-in-law's teachings. It needs to survive and thrive on its own.
Other than money, Microsoft has little to offer Yahoo. Besides than Internet Explorer, crammed down users' throats as it tromped another innovative company, Netscape, has Microsoft brought any real leading Internet solutions to the marketplace? Does anyone consider Microsoft a powerhouse content company? Does it possess any real user loyalty? No. For the past decade, Microsoft has been in catch-up mode. Even when it tries to be innovative on the Net, it seems to fail miserably.
Our Yahoo rep has been the same person for over five years, while MSN offered us a series of reps who appear poorly trained in their own tools and not to be given much internal support. MSN's clunky back-ends don't further enamor us.
There were also valid concerns about CPM rate hikes. MSN already makes buying into its content either harder to facilitate or more expensive than Yahoo does. In our experience, mergers typically lead to cost increases.
What can Yahoo do to survive without Microsoft's money? I've conjured up some ideas that have probably already been considered, but I'll put them out there nonetheless:
Over $44 billion is a lot of money to refuse. Kudos to Yahoo for doing so!
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A ClickZ expert columnist since 2005, Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is president and founder of Maryland-based WebAdvantage.net, an online marketing company that provides results-centric, strategic Internet marketing services, including online media planning, SEO, PPC campaign management, social media marketing, and Internet consulting. Author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day and an award-winning entrepreneur, Hollis is the Maryland 2007 SBA Small Business Person of the Year. Hollis speaks extensively on online marketing, having presented for ClickZ, the American Marketing Association, SES, The Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association, The Kelsey Group, and the Vocus Worldwide User Forum. WebAdvantage.net's client list has included Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, K'NEX Construction Toys, and Visit Baltimore. The agency was recognized as a "Small Giant" by the Greater Baltimore Tech Council and was chosen as a "Best Place for Business Women to Work" by "Smart Woman Magazine."
March 19, 2014