Yahoo! WAKE UP!

It’s very frustrating being a Yahoo shareholder.

Not because Yahoo isn’t a good company, in fact Yahoo is a *great* company.

Not because Yahoo doesn’t seem to “get it”, Yahoo arguably “gets it” better than almost all other companies in terms of Web 2.0, the social networking space, and in terms of the importance of open architectures and developer support.

Not because Yahoo doesn’t have any of the lucrative search market share. They are the clear 2nd place in search with huge search activity and over 20% of global internet search traffic.

It’s frustrating because despite all the advantages, Yahoo just can’t seem to capitalize on all these advantagesto turn a good buck, monetize the site to full potential, and increase my share price. Google, with total traffic levels about the same as Yahoo, has a stock capitalization some *FIVE TIMES* that of the company with arguably very similar potential for profits.

Little internet companies and even many very big ones have a good excuse for failing in profitability – online biz is a cold and cruel world and for all the but the huge players everything can turn on a dime. Yahoo, on the other hand, has no good excuse for failing. They are a market maker in terms of online search, global internet reach, online video, and …. this just in for me …. they are HUGE in the Social Networking space. Yes, that would be the social networking space everybody is so excited about. What do I mean by HUGE? Let’s review this graph from via TechCrunch.

First we need to note that is not even remotely a perfect measure, and also adding “unique visitors” in this fashion is counting some folks twice. Also, they are listing sites like Geocities that are arguably not social sites, though I’d argue they could be “open socialed” quickly with an effort in that direction. Since the overlap at these traffic levels is probably not a very big deal, and also assuming they spend time as if the Yahoo properties are separate sites their ad potential may be the same as if they were different folks, these numbers are important and relevant.

So, the big players first:

Myspace: 72 million unique visits in October

Facebook: 33 million

Yahoo: 38 million …..

<screeching reverse halt noise here>

What? Yahoo has more social traffic than Facebook?! Yes they do if you add Flickr and Geocities and Yahoo Groups.

Aside from the fact that Caterina and Stuart and the Flickr gang are probably thinking they sold out a bit too cheap at only 20 million, Flickr is an astounding success with some 14 million users and growing. Personally, I’d rather hang out at Flickr than Facebook anyway.

So, where does this huge number of users in the Yahoo social networking juggernaut leave us?

Frustrated baby, frustrated……

Blodget: Microsoft implying they may be poised to buy Yahoo

Henry Blodget’s got an interesting take on the recent UBS talk by Microsoft where they suggested a plan to capture “30-40%” of the search market over the next several years.  Although the literal reading of this does not seem to suggest a Yahoo buyout, Blodget is correct that it is simply absurd, even given the normal Microsoft bluster factor, for Microsoft to think they can capture this much of the market in a short time …. unless they buy Yahoo, which as Blodget points out gives them all this, and more, instantly.  

Given Yahoo’s modest capitalization of some 30 billion, and Yahoo’s huge online prospects (they have similar traffic to Google but with far poorer monetization of traffic), it would not be prohibitive for Microsoft to nab them.

I’ve noted before this would be an excellent move for Microsoft.  It still is.

Disclaimer: I’ve got some Yahoo shares.   Not that they are doing me much good right now.    But they’d probably jump in value if Microsoft bought them.   Did this influence me writing about this?   I don’t think so, but since money is the root of all evil you can’t really trust me on Yahoo analyses, disclaimers or not.   Also important is that nobody can predict the market swings with any forward looking reliability.   So there.