Friday, September 12, 2008

Are PR and Marketing Key To Yahoo!'s Future?

Author: YahooSupporter

Is PR and Marketing the Key to Yahoo!'s Future? Today, there is news that Google is ""testing"" its ebay-like auctions and it may soon release an electronic wallet.

Anyone who knows anything about Yahoo! knows that they implemented ebay-like auctions years ago (see http://auctions.yahoo.com), and have had an electronic wallet for years also (see http://wallet.yahoo.com).

Both of these products are FULLY tested, as are all Yahoo! products, by very very experienced software engineers, with excellent software engineering / QA skills, so that bugs are very rarely introduced into the ""live"" system - i.e. Yahoo! customers very rarely find bugs - Yahoo! employees find them first, before the software is made public. The wallet is highly secure and extremely reliable, and the auctions work spectacularly well and it is possible to purchase products often more cheaply than is possible on Ebay. The only fault with the Yahoo! versions of these products is that they have not been marketed fiercely enough - very few web users even know they exist!

Contrast this with Google, which appears to leave most of its products in ""beta"" mode forever, so that when their customers find bugs, they can use the excuse that the reason there are still bugs is because the product is a beta product.

My guess (though I cannot prove this, my experience in the software industry tells me that this is true) is that the real reason is because Google software teams hack together solutions very quickly to meet customer demand and that full software engineering and QA are not something that Google takes as seriously as does Yahoo!

This story is very similar to all the ""new"" products that Google comes up with..

Of course, everyone knows that Yahoo! Search (http://search.yahoo.com) was around long before Google gurgled its first goo. Unlike Google's search (with its so called ""Florida update"", and other accidental and/or catastrophic reorganizations of the search engine ranking criteria), Yahoo! has never upset its SEO audience by keeping its ranking algorithm secret, changing it drastically without warning, or accidentally changing it.. This is because all Yahoo! changes to the search engine (as is the case with all Yahoo! software) undergo Testing and Change Management (basic principles of software engineering that ensures that unexpected changes do not appear on the live web site). For some reason, publicity about Google's severe mistakes in this area rarely hit the news stands and TV news, despite the fact that it cost lots of businesses a great deal of money! Likewise, Yahoo!'s sterling record in search ranking is rarely publicized in contrast to the Google flakiness.

Google Groups was implemented years after Yahoo! Groups (at http://groups.yahoo.com) - Google Groups is still in beta, years after it bought the newsgroups and software running them from Deja (Google has not changed it much since buying the ready made software and content from Deja, and for a long time after they bought it, much of it was read-only, rendering it almost totally useless during that time period).

Google Desktop search came after Yahoo! Desktop search (see http://desktop.yahoo.com) too (and - oh yes - it is still in beta).

Google's shopping search service, Froogle, came a long time after Yahoo! Shopping (see http://shopping.yahoo.com). The Yahoo! product is vastly superior also, with lots of very useful content to aid in shopping decisions, comparison tools, rating and review facilities etc.

Google News came a long time after Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com) and, of course, it is still in beta! And, many would argue, is still inferior in many ways, to the Yahoo! offering - in terms of the diversity of news feeds on offer, the layout, and other factors.

Google Maps came along years after Yahoo! Maps (http://maps.yahoo.com), and is not only still in beta, it is full of little bugs which I, for one, find very annoying! Although there are some nice gimmicks in Google Maps (you can drag maps around), often such gimmicks are not what the user actually wants to do when using a map (I want to double-click and drill down on an area, like I can in Yahoo! Maps!), and other gimmicks, that would be useful, dont work - e.g it is easy to implement maps into other websites thanks to an open programming api - but that api often fails due to programming errors.

Gmail, likewise, has some nice gimmicks (some of which the user may actually want/need) but is full of bugs, is still in beta, and comes years after Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com) was well established. Yet Gmail got huge publicity because Google offered huge amounts of storage space as part of the deal for those signing up to the service (Yahoo! had, for a long time, offered a great amount of free space to its customers, - unlimited storage space on Yahoo! Photos (http://photos.yahoo.com), a 50Mb of free webspace courtesy of Geocities (http://geocities.yahoo.com), various amounts of free storage space for Yahoo! Briefcase (http://briefcase.yahoo.com) users, Yahoo! Notepad (http://notepad.yahoo.com) users and various amounts of space within many other facilities, all of which were fully integrated with Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com), helping users to organize their information more usefully (whereas Google's space is all contained within mail, creating a mass of different types of information all stored in the same application, making it very difficult to organize, search or make use of) - and yet Google publicity suggested it was the first to offer so much free storage space. Maddeningly, in response, Yahoo! simply expanded the amount of free storage space associated directly with Yahoo! Mail accounts and kept quiet about its other offerings, and the benefits of organizing information in the way facilitated by Yahoo! offerings.

Google Toolbar is another idea that Yahoo! (http://toolbar.yahoo.com) had before Google, though it is one of the few Google pieces of software no longer in beta, that actually works and even may occasionally feature one or two gimmicks that Yahoo! should implement in its own toolbar (for example, web ranking is a useful feature for SEOs and webmasters, which Google came up with first)!

The unhappy ""ig"" (Google's personalized home page) is Google's half-hearted attempt at a personalized portal home page like my yahoo! (http://my.yahoo.com) but it is a very very poor attempt, and is a vastly inferior product. Its a shame more Yahoo! users do not realize how powerful my Yahoo! is. Again, a fault with Yahoo! marketing and PR, not with the product itself.

Moreover, I am aware of at least three ""new"" products that Google is about to announce that Yahoo! has had available to the public for a great deal of time..

It is clear that Google has a very strong Marketing and PR machine - it is no coincidence that so many TV shows, movies and adverts feature people ""googling"", that so many news headlines feature Google's name, nor that Google's share price and revenues are going through the roof in comparison to that of Yahoo!

However, PR and Marketing are the ONLY reason for this.

So, what is wrong with the Yahoo! Marketing and PR machine? Why is Yahoo! allowing Google to grab the headlines for inferior copies of products that Yahoo! has had in its arsenal for many years?

Terry Semel, Jerry Yang et al ought to find out the answer to that question.. NOW!

See YahooSupporter's blog http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-4sU6UzIocqjUhnPaqIsNgU0-

About the author: I have permission to reproduce this article here on behalf of the mysterious YahooSupporter

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