Thursday, September 30, 2010
  • Gavin O'Malley, September 30, 2010, 12:46 PM
  • In one fell swoop, three top execs are abandoning Yahoo, including U.S. head Hilary Schneider, U.S. Audience head David Ko, and VP of Media Jimmy Pitaro.

    "This entire mess -- and that's precisely what it is -- calls into question the tenure of [CEO Carol] Bartz ... who was brought in to clean up Yahoo after the maelstrom around the failed takeover attempt by Microsoft several years ago." Sources tell BoomTown that Yahoo board members convened an emergency meeting this week to figure out how to deal with the mess.  

    Suggesting that Bartz's days are numbered, "Some speculate that they will hire a second-in-command to Bartz, who might be able to take over for her when her contract is up in 18 months."  

    The Wall Street Journal made sure to point out that the exodus "adds to a long list of recent departures under Chief Executive Carol Bartz."  

      Barclays internet analyst Doug Anmuth predicts that "the huge management tumult" at Yahoo isn't likely to hurt the company's stock, notes paidContent's David Kaplan.  

      "But he, and several Yahoo Newspaper Consortium partners I spoke to, say that while things may remain stable in the short term, there are increasing worries about what happens over time, as it's becoming increasingly difficult for Yahoo to attract top talent," Kaplan added.  

    Noting that Yahoo's shares have barely moved since Bartz's arrival, MediaBeat asks: "Is Bartz Yahoo's ultimate under-performer?"   

    "The Yahoo CEO has another 18 months on her contract," adds MediaBeat. "But if she's not able to swiftly replace Schneider and other defectors with executives who give Wall Street confidence, the board could well move to cut things short."   

      Schneider is expected to stay on until Yahoo can find a suitable replacement.  

    Read the whole story...
  • Google: Supreme search engine; First-rate direction giver; aspiring phone seller. Yep, Google has relaunched its phone store, dubbed "Phone Gallery," and is now hocking an array of phones compatible with its Android mobile operating system. The former URL was used to sell the Nexus One, but was closed when Google decided to stop shipping the device, notes Fortune's Seth Weintraub.

    Regarding the new store, Weintraub says, "I personally like the compare feature at the right which allows you to to [sic] pick any three phones and get a specification breakdown." Google is presently advertising phones from five separate manufacturers. The phones in the gallery include Android Market, Google Search, and other Google Mobile services such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube," says Google. Read the whole story...
  • Overshadowing previous estimates, Facebook's ad sales will exceed $1.6 billion this year, according to a new report from Cowen & Co. analyst Jim Friedland. That number, combined with "non-ad revenue," will bring Facebook's overall sales to nearly $1.75 billion for the year, notes paidContent.

    "It was only last month that eMarketer said Facebook's ad sales for the year would likely total $1.2 billion," paidContent writes. In his report, Friedland said he expects Facebook's U.S. ad sales to total $1.05 billion and international ad sales of about $500 million. eMarketer suggested that Facebook's U.S. ad revenue would reach $835 million, while worldwide sales would come to $450 million. Next year, meanwhile, Friedland predicts Facebook's ad sales will total $3.2 billion -- "nearly double what eMarketer is expecting," paidContent notes. Read the whole story...
  • What does Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of search and user experience, think about Facebook. For one, the top social net is "really different than what Google is really focused on," she said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week, according to VentureBeat.

    There are, however, "elements that are interesting," she added. Like her boss Eric Schmidt, where Mayer takes issue with Facebook is its insistence on hiding content from Google and other search engines. "There is a lot of content that is being locked in," she said. Despite privacy concerns, "You should still be able to find the information that's relevant to you, that you would otherwise have access to." As VentureBeat notes, Google launched a real-time search engine last year, which pulls information from various social networking services -- "but its integration with Facebook was pretty limited." Read the whole story...
  • Marking a maturing Web landscape, popular film and television search engine IMDb.com turns 20 next month. As the Associated Press notes, the site was also overhauled this week to emphasize video clips and "help fans find what they'd like to see next."

    The goal was to "help people make viewing decisions" and "emphasize the visual nature of film and TV," Col Needham, the site's British founder and chief executive, tells AP. Also, trailers and ticket information are now much more prominent. The site actually began as a database program that people had to install on their computers. Users could sift through the published credits of a handful of movies. Needham sold the site to Amazon in 1998. Today, the site attacts over 25 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore -- beating both Yahoo and Fandango. Read the whole story...
  • Adam Goldberg could have been a contender. So says Slate of the Columbia grad "who came within arm's reach of a multibillion-dollar idea that ultimately slipped his grasp." The idea? A social network for college kids named Campus Network -- then called CU Community for Columbia University. At one time, according to Slate, CU represented "perhaps the greatest threat to Facebook's dominance."

    Says Goldberg, now 26 years old: "If you talk to [Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg], he'll be the first to tell you he thought CU Community was the biggest competition that Facebook ever had." What happened? For one, Facebook had first-mover advantage when it opened its doors to other Ivy Leagues. Also, perhaps a bit overconfidence, Goldberg says: "I really believed that Campus Network was a better product." Also, as Facebook continued to gain steam, Goldberg also says he turned down advertisers, including MTV, and didn't seek out venture capital. Ultimately, however, Slate suggests that Facebook real edge was its simplicity. "Facebook respected the Web's learning curve. Campus Network did too much too soon." Read the whole story...