For Yahoo, Tiger scandal better than Michael Jackson

Celebrity deaths are big news. But nothing warms a media executive’s heart more than a good celebrity sex scandal.

“God bless Tiger. This week we got a huge uplift.” Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told a crowd of investors in New York on Tuesday at the UBS Media and Communications Conference. Reuters


Bartz noted that the Tiger Woods story has filtered through all of Yahoo’s key online properties, from front page news to websites dedicated to sports and gossip.

Asked if Wood’s recently alleged extracurricular activities would help Yahoo meet its quarterly financial targets, Bartz joked that it absolutely would, and added that the scandal has been better for business than Michael Jackson dying. “It’s kind of hard to put an ad up next to a funeral.”

The golfing phenom came up again later during Bartz’s appearance, in a discussion about charging for online news (as News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch is increasingly interested in doing) or keeping the content freely-available and subsidized by advertisements.

from DealZone:

Bunch of Yahoos

A string of Yahoo sales, engineering and product executives took the stage on Wednesday in the company's first full-day briefing with analysts since May 2006, all with a mantra that came down from on high: "Today is the beginning of a journey back to respect," said CEO Carol Bartz.

With page views increasing, Carl Icahn having drawn in his horns, and the company extending a deadline for finalizing a search agreement with Microsoft, the time was right for a love-in.

Finance Chief Tim Morse said Yahoo expects to achieve operating margins between 15 percent and 20 percent by 2012. After the third quarter's "pathetic" 6 percent, shareholders would certainly consider that a more respectful performance.

Yahoo blinds analysts with science

Three years is a long time to go without having an analyst day, and it seems Yahoo decided to make up for lost time with a marathon seven-plus-hour briefing to Wall Street’s number-crunchers on Wednesday.

Perhaps having gotten a little rusty from non-practice, Yahoo dispensed with some of the customs of the analyst day ritual. Members of the press were barred from the event, and forced to watch the proceedings over a Webcast, with all the attendant technical difficulties and indignities.

Yahoo’s plug for analysts was simple enough: Yahoo got boring and slow-footed over the years, but the company still commands a massive online audience that’s extremely valuable to advertisers.

Flu and Twitter mark Web 2.0

Twitter love was in full bloom at the Web 2.0 conference on Wednesday, with Microsoft and Google each announcing deals to partner with the microblogging service.

But marring the Twitter hoopla were no-shows from two of the event’s highest-profile speakers.

A day after Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz skipped the company’s quarterly earnings conference call (because she had “come down with something” as CFO Tim Morse explained), Bartz skipped the Web 2.0 conference, where she was scheduled to kick off Wednesday’s events with a 30-minute talk.

Yahoo Hack Day: Let there be Lap Dances!

Hack days are de rigueur among Web companies — a standard way to foster innovation and to burnish a company’s street cred among techies. So videos of Yahoo’s recent hack day in Taiwan that surfaced on the Internet should have been good PR.

The problem: The coders at the Yahoo event appeared less interested in creating the next killer app than in enjoying the lap dances being generously doled out by the scantily-clad dancers in attendance.

Yahoo apologized for the event in a blog post Monday evening, calling the incident “regrettable” and promising that it would not happen again.

Yahoo’s Bartz to cynics: Leave us alone!

In politics, bashing the so-called “coastal elitists” is a time-honored tradition.

Now the ritual has spread to the Internet business.

In a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz lambasted the company’s critics, whom she suggested are out of touch with most of America.

“When you get out of New York City and Silicon Valley everybody loves Yahoo,” said Bartz, citing the positive feedback she gets from regular folks on her many travels (she cited interactions with ebullient passport control officials and people in her former home state of Wisconsin).

Carol Bartz! It’s You!

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz was right by the Reuters office this morning, ringing the morning bell at Nasdaq on 43rd Street and Broadway, so I ran down to catch a glimpse and lob a few questions at her. With all the buzz about Yahoo’s new marketing campaign, which is set to be unveiled tomorrow, I asked Bartz if she was excited.

“Excited? I’m so excited about it, I could do a Yahoo yodel,” she said. But then, she didn’t oblige. Bartz did say New Yorkers will see splashy Yahoo signs and other gimmicks over the next few days. But it’s not just New York.

The campaign, which the New York Times says is backed by a $100 million budget, will be launched all over the world, Bartz said. We’ll have more on Tuesday, when Yahoo executives tell reporters what they are up to. Until then, here’s a sneak peak courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, which says the campaign tagline is “It’s You!”.

from The Great Debate:

Forget Microsoft, Yahoo’s value is overseas

-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

eric_auchard_columnist_shot_2009_june_300_px2The fate of Yahoo Inc has become intertwined in the public's imagination with the success or failure of its dealings with Microsoft Corp in recent years.

That's despite the fact that as much as 70 percent of the value investors put on Yahoo's depressed shares are tied up in its international assets or cash holdings -- factors that have nothing to do with Microsoft.

Yahoo's operations trade for just $5 to $6 per share out of its current $15 share price, once you exclude its Asian investments and the value of its cash. Its hidden assets in Japan and Chinese affiliates -- Yahoo Japan Corp and China's Alibaba Group -- alone are worth around $6 to $7 per share.

from Left field:

Yahoo launches mayoral trash talk in fantasy football league

nfl1Get ready for the smack talk as Yahoo is launching a fantasy football competition among 11 U.S. mayors.

Former NBA star Kevin Johnson, who is now mayor of Sacramento, is among the competitors in the head-to-head league. The mayors will compete weekly based on the statistics of National Football League players they draft. Other mayors involved are from Buffalo, New York; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland and San Francisco, California; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Tampa, Florida.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, a lifetime Green Bay Packers fan, is already putting on his game face: "Winning is the only thing."

Microsoft-Yahoo: whither the boatloads?

It takes a deft touch to vanish a boatload of cash, but Yahoo seems to have done it.

Disappointed investors voted with their feet initially when the Microsoft-Yahoo deal, announced in the early hours of Wednesday, came with reams of detail on search, revenue-sharing, technology and advertising tie-ups — but no anticipated upfront payment, which some had put at around $1 billion. Yahoo prompty lost about a 10th of its market value.

“This agreement comes with boatloads of value for Yahoo, our users, and the industry, and I believe it establishes the foundation for a new era of Internet innovation and development,” Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz said in a press statement released jointly with Microsoft on Wednesday.