5 Reasons why Yahoo isn’t going to die

There has been a lot of talk recently on Yahoo’s reorganization and impending doom. I agree that the company faces some really challenging times. The ad market that they generate their revenue from is going to shrink this year. But I think that the rumors of Yahoo’s impending death are a bit premature. Here are my:

5 Reasons why Yahoo isn’t going to die

1) Solid #2 in search

Ok, I know, I know, Yahoo’s search results are not as good as Google’s. That’s why I don’t use Yahoo for search… but still, they have a solid number two position in the search market. Which means they should have enough data to improve. From Comscore’s January 2009 search engine rankings

Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in December with 63.0 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! Sites (21.0 percent), Microsoft Sites (8.5 percent), AOL LLC (3.9 percent) and Ask Network (3.7 percent) 

Yahoo has the number 2 slot in what may be the most important industry in the technology industry. Come on people, they should be able to do something with this!!

2) Ad powerhouse  

165 million unique visitors through their ad network in December, the number two position to Platform-A. Reaching something like 87% of the US internet population. Recent innovation from this group bodes well for the company as a whole. Their new ad retargeting solution is really pretty darn cool. It uses data/views from search and display ads to generate better targeting/ROIs for advertisers. If only the search group could innovate like this.

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Ah! The web is breaking

Being a bit histrionic here, but yesterday Gmail was down… today I can’t log into Facebook?! The web is ending as we know it! 

Facebook Down

Anyone else having this problem?

Well, hopefully Twitter is working at least… otherwise, how will I promote this post??

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Getting a meeting with a VC – your team is the most important thing

Don’t sell your team short when you are trying to get a meeting with a venture capitalist. When a VC is trying to decide if they want to meet with your startup, the most important factor is YOU and your team. I’ve seen way too many financing pitches/teasers where the startup does not provide information on the team and their previous accomplishments.

Can the Team really be more important than the Idea?

In a word: yes. If Bill Gates wanted to meet with me to discuss financing a pig farm I would take the meeting. VCs take meetings with people all the time because they are interested in the people. Networking is a key, perhaps THE key, job function of the VC. Make sure your team sounds accomplished enough to warrant the meeting, then shine in the meeting and convince the VC to get interested in the business idea.

Make your Bios interesting to the venture capitalist

In your investors’ pitch or teaser you need to:

  1. Make sure you have your bios in the slide deck/teaser
  2. Name the companies that you have worked for and highlight key accomplishments
  3. Feel free to include your advisers if they are compelling – VCs might want to meet them too!
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Some quick links

I am back from my vacation and have a couple of hundred emails to get through, among other things, so here are some links that you may or may not find useful while I dig myself out from under this rock:

How is your VC doing?

Brad Feld (a well known VC and blogger) wrote a piece on 3 questions to ask your VC to check their fund’s interest in your company and its health. I like this post – it is similar to one I am drafting on why you should talk to your VC about how much they have reserved for follow on investments in your startup. Brad’s key points are that the venture capitalist, as an investor and important partner in your startup, owes it to you to let you know how likely they are to continue to support your business. 

I will be attending the OMMA online behavioral advertising conference on Thursday in NYC

As one of my new year’s resolutions I promised to let you know if I’d be attending interesting conferences. This Thursday (Feb 26th) I’ll be at the OMMA Behavioral conference. Let me know if you are going to attend. As a well known Boston-area startup entrepreneur once said to me, “you VCs are way too into online advertising.” Yes we are, and targeted advertising is the name of the game this time around!

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Should the online ad industry self-regulate?

I’m a few days behind here due to my vacation, but I do think that the WSJ (and I guess the US Federal Trade Commission…) have been talking about allowing the online targeted ad world to self-regulate. The WSJ’s article on this suggests that the FTC is asking for clear disclosure and the ability to opt-out of target advertisements. Of course, any given consumer could opt-out by clearing their cookies, but the thought of an active opt-out is nice.

My personal belief is that targeted advertisements are not bad nor are they intrusive. However, I clearly understand that there is a large segment of the population that feels that this is not appropriate. We’ll call this segment… “old people.” Since Congress happens to have a large number of “old people” I’m willing to bet that eventually some crotchety old person is going to get all upset and pass an annoying law that messes up the online ad market. Therefore, I’d really prefer that the FTC put out some sort of real regulation and prevent old people from destroying the entire targeted ad space.

Ok, back to my vacation. Let’s hope that the beer is London is not too warm tonight.

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