Yahoo's fourth quarter results didn't live up to analysts' expectations, but a profit is a profit. The company reported Q4 net income of $153 million, a far cry better than the $303 million loss it suffered in Q4 of 2008.
During Yahoo's Q4 earnings call today, CEO Carol Bartz said weathering the recession "was a very bumpy ride." She insisted Yahoo is working diligently to improve its relationships with advertisers going forward.
On her "to-do" list for this year will be finding a way to provide advertisers with better information about customers.
"We've been getting great data about consumers," said Bartz, who added the company has let too much of that valuable information "fall to the floor." She said Yahoo needs to deliver to advertisers, without compromising user privacy, "many more specific attributes that scale" about users.
During the quarter, Yahoo's marketing services revenue from owned and operated sites was $971 million, a 9 percent decline from the year-ago period, when those revenues totaled $1.1 billion. Search advertising revenue led the decline, dropping 15 percent. Display ad revenue fell 1 percent, and Bartz claimed a number of Yahoo's premium properties, including the homepage, sold out their ad inventory in Q4.
Revenue from search ($370 million) grew sequentially in the fourth quarter for the first time since the third quarter of 2008. In Q3 of 2008, Yahoo raked in $438 million from search. The figure dwindled to $354 million by Q3 of last year.
"Overall, things seem to be returning to a more normal state in the online ad business," said Bartz.
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