Can Semel Establish Yahoos Identity?
Yahoo has a new honcho. Can the guy who helped Clint Eastwood find success after a start as the jet squadron leader battling a giant spider in "Tarantula" help the Yahoo crowd figure out how to make a fistful of dollars?Yahoo has a new honcho. Can the guy who helped Clint Eastwood find success after a start as the jet squadron leader battling a giant spider in "Tarantula" help the Yahoo crowd figure out how to make a fistful of dollars? I think Terry Semels move from Warner Bros. to Yahoo was a great choice for a company that attracts lots of clicks but has never been able to explain what it is. Semel is the first of the digital rebounders: execs who burned through a lot of venture capital and investor dollars getting it all wrong in the first inning of the Web business. Although many observers focus on Semels experience at Warner Bros., where he was instrumental in creating such classics as "Ace Ventura" and "Police Academy," he has also been kicking the tires on the Internet. He sank $2 million into the Digital Entertainment Network, a company that may hold the distinction of being the most screwed-up outfit ever before disappearing. So Semel, like lots of ex-Internet execs, got to make all his mistakes on other peoples money.
Yahoo is certainly an alluring opportunity. The companys stock is in the pits, but it still claims to have nearly 80 million registered users. Any time you can put 80 million people in a room, any marketing exec worth his M.B.A. should be able to figure out a way to make some money. To date, the best strategy seems to have been to throw enough banner ads and cookies at users to make them want to pay to exit.