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Yahoo struggling to compete

Jennifer Collins Dec 17, 2010

Yahoo struggling to compete

Jennifer Collins Dec 17, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: Let’s do a little bit of Internet company naming game now, shall we? Remember Alta Vista? The search engine? Or MyBlogLog, a social network for bloggers? How about Delicious? It’s a site that lets you share bookmarks with your friends.

All of the above belong to Yahoo, which is itself trying really hard to forget them. There are reports today saying Yahoo’s going to shut them down or spin them off as another way to cut costs, much as the company announced Tuesday it’s going to lay off 600 people for the same reason.

Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins has more on how one of those sites gives us a snapshot of Yahoo’s troubles.

Jennifer Collins: Let’s consider Delicious — it lets you tag websites so other users can see what you’re reading. The site sounds pretty basic now. But when Yahoo bought the company five years ago, Delicious was an early entry in what would become a social media revolution.

Jeff Jarvis: The problem was once Delicious got to Yahoo, it basically was frozen in time like a bit of Internet “Brigadoon.”

Jeff Jarvis is the author of “What Would Google Do?”

Jarvis: And it never developed. It was given no resources.

Jarvis says other Yahoo acquisitions — like the photo sharing site Flickr — also weren’t fully developed. He says Yahoo understood that social media would be big — the company just didn’t know how to combine different services like Delicious and Flickr into one platform the way Facebook does.

Jarvis: Yahoo is one of those companies that buys things and kills them.

Now it’s Yahoo that’s suffering. The company is growing a lot slower than Google or Facebook and users are spending less time on the site. Tech analyst Laura Didio says the cuts may hurt the Yahoo brand but could help keep the company alive.

Laura Didio: If they want to be profitable and not just survive they have to trim the parts of the business that are underperforming or not performing at all.

If you’re one of the many who’ve joined the campaign to “save Delicious,” Yahoo said today it plans to sell — not shut down — the site.

I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

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