A simple plan to save Yahoo, by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman

September 12, 2011

In Silicon Valley, it’s not tough to find someone to offer advice on how to save Yahoo, the struggling Internet portal that fired CEO Carol Bartz last week.
But one voice that the Sunnyvale, California-based company may want to pay attention to is Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn-turned-venture capitalist, and one of the most respected players in the fast-growing social networking market.
While investment bankers and private equity advisors are circling around Yahoo, looking for the best way to break the company into little pieces that can be auctioned off to the highest bidder, Hoffman thinks Yahoo may still be able to pull off a comeback.
“I think renovation and rebirth is possible and I think that’s the play you make,” Hoffman said, citing the Apple example, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Monday.
How would he do it?
First, Hoffman said he’d focus on investing the resources to make big technological innovations on Yahoo’s most popular online assets, such as its Web-based email product, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Groups.
Then, he suggested, Yahoo to end its reliance on online brand advertising and get creative about how it makes money.
“There are other kinds of business models that I think we have yet to invent on the consumer Internet,” Hoffman said, citing Zynga, which has developed revenue from new sources, such as the sale of virtual goods that enhance the experience of Zynga games.
So there you have it, a simple two-step plan to revive Yahoo. Perhaps Reid Hoffman should call Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang directly…

One comment

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I think it’s time that Yahoo! shifted itself out of the time-warp it’s been living in for a decade. The brand has no traction with any specific demographic what so ever. In addition, Yahoo! appears to be missing a USP.

Without owning any form of what could be called a powerful search product, or being able to offer free marketing solutions for businesses, Yahoo! has become it’s own ball and chain.

There is no “simple” solution, and while it’s easy for outsiders to comment on what they would do to resurrect Yahoo! the company is in a tough predicament that requires insight from within it’s rank and file employees and management.

A re-brand, culture change, product revision and social strategy could benefit Yahoo! immensely.

Re-brand yes … the Yahoo! logo has a ! at the end and is broken every single time someone uses the name without the exclamation mark! This is a MAJOR problem for any company. Yahoo is only Yahoo! when used in context.

Look at brands like Etnies Footware, a kid sprays the Etnies logo on a skate park ramp – It’s Etnies. Do the same with Yahoo and it’s verb! Don’t forget the !

Cheers,
Paul Thomas

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