Marissa Mayer's Yahoo Still Searching for Revenue Growth a Year Later

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-07-17 Print this article Print

From there, Mayer began making changes, many of them inspired by Google's best practices.

She hired a new CMO, COO and CMO and put in place transparent quarterly goals for them, as well as 93 percent of Yahoo's employees. She also rearranged some of the physical workspaces at Yahoo, to encourage collaboration; upgraded everyone's smartphones, so that they could all test out Yahoo products on the latest devices; extended the maternity leave time (though she only took two weeks); made food in the cafeteria free; established an online Q&A system, enabling employees to ask questions and vote on the topics they wanted publically addressed; and began the tradition of an all-hands-on-deck Friday afternoon meeting, to keep everyone on the same page (and in the office).

Since Mayer's hiring, more than 560 new "employee-focused initiatives" have been put in place.

During Yahoo's 2012 third quarter, revenue came in at $1.09 billion, beating analyst estimates, while income was $177 million, not including a $2.8 billion payday from sales of Alibaba shares. Display ad revenue was $506 million and search revenue was $473 million.  

During the Oct. 22 earnings call, Mayer said the vision for Yahoo is to make the "world's habits inspiring and entertaining." That means making search, email and the other things most people do most often—check stocks, check the weather, check sports scores, watch videos, share photos, play games and read news—incredibly pleasant to engage with.

Yahoo also needs to be more mobile, she said, as the world's smartphone population is expected to double in the next three years and "Yahoo hasn't capitalized on the mobile opportunity."

She also wants Yahoo to be more streamlined. The company had 76 applications across iOS and Android as of October, which Mayer declared to be too many.

"Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy," she said.

Finally, she added that Yahoo also needs to be in a position to acquire companies that align well with its business and can provide "terrific growth." She contends that companies that can be had for less than $100 million tend to comfortably adjust to a new corporate culture and yield great results.

As her one-year anniversary at Yahoo approaches, Mayer has acquired 17 companies.

Among the properties Yahoo purchased, mostly for undisclosed sums, are video-sharing app Qwiki; productivity app Astrid; survey platform GoPollGo; travel site Milewise; gaming company LokiStudios; photo app maker Ghostbird Software; social recommendation platforms Alike, Jibe and Stamped; news-summarizing service Summly; the Pinterest-esque; conferencing and broadcasting apps Rondee and OnTheAir; and, for the cool price of $1.1 billion, the blogging platform Tumblr.


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