For Yahoo, the Focus is the Fees

In a move aimed at pointing more of its users towards activities and sites that generate revenue, Internet portal Yahoo is said to be testing a redesigned front page that puts more emphasis on fee-based services and opens up a little more space for advertisers.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo , which for 18 months has been signing deals like the recent one that created Yahoo Advice in order to increase its fee-based revenues, also is redesigning its shopping and email features, according to a Wall Street Journal report. E-mail became a revenue stream last March.

Almost as proof of the pudding, Yahoo today announced that its auto section will soon begin offering auto dealers improved packages of online automotive classified listings for purchase through value-added resellers.

What Yahoo reportedly wants to do is to prepare its home page and other sites for eventually targeting its visitors, providing personalized product offers and brand marketing, along the lines of what Seattle-based e-commerce bellwether Amazon.com does.

There’s a reason, of course. Yahoo for the past 18 months or so has been attempting to find alternative revenue sources as Internet advertising has slumped. For the first quarter of 2002, revenues totaled $192.7 million — above analysts’ expected $186 million. But on the bottom line, Yahoo posted its sixth-straight quarterly net loss — $53.6 million, or 9 cents per share.

Yahoo reportedly will roll out test versions of various new looks to some users for two weeks before it releases the new redesigns to its entire audience near the end of June.

For the auto deal, Yahoo said its first dealer listings packages will be available to the 3,000 franchises that participate in AutoNation Inc.’s AutoVantage eDealership Network.

“Yahoo Autos’ dealer listings packages allow dealers to market their vehicle inventory directly to in-market shoppers and secure leads at very competitive prices,” said Elizabeth Blair, senior vice president of Yahoo’s Listings business unit.

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