Yahoo's Delicious Tries to Dodge Death
Yahoo is apparently taking the term "buzzkill" to a new level, confirming to various news outlets its plans to eliminate its Buzz social-news portal.
"We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in coming months such as Yahoo! Buzz, or Traffic APIs, and others," a company spokesperson e-mailed the Los Angeles Times Dec. 16. "We will communicate specific plans when appropriate."
Buzz allows people to submit news stories found online and then vote on their popularity, raising those pieces' profiles in the view of the Buzz community. It shares some structural similarities with other social-news aggregators such as Digg and allows users to "buzz up" not only articles from major news Websites but also videos and blogs.
In addition to eliminating underperforming assets, Yahoo plans to cut 600 employees from the company, a 4 percent workforce reduction. "This was a tough call, but a necessary one," CEO Carol Bartz wrote in an employee memo. "We need to make these changes now to ensure that Products is structured and running the way we want as 2011 begins. And that means we need fewer Yahoos in some areas, and different types of Yahoos in others."
However, Bartz also insisted that the company's fundamentals remained sound despite the cuts. "You've heard me say before that I didn't come to cut Yahoo to greatness," she wrote. "That's all true. This decision is more about cost savings. The changes are meant to get us into a position so we can invest more in the kind of products and technology we know we need to be successful."
Bartz's 2009 compensation was $47.2 million and topped Standard & Poor's list of the 10 highest-paid CEOs that year.
According to AllThingsD, a leaked internal slide shows Yahoo determined to "sunset" eight products in the near future, including MyBlogLog, Yahoo Picks, AltaVista, Yahoo Bookmarks, Yahoo Buzz and Delicious. MyBlogLog co-founder Eric Marcoullier had posted a screenshot of the slide on his Twitter page and tweeted Dec. 17: "[Yahoo] says they're trying to sell Delicious. MyBlogLog founders asked to regain control on three occasions. Still interested."
Bookmarking site Delicious-whose more ardent fans quickly tweeted their irritation over the drama-seemed determined to survive whatever Yahoo has planned for it. "Many of you have read the news stories about Delicious that began appearing yesterday," read an unsigned Dec. 17 posting on the Delicious blog. "While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is an ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive."
The posting continued: "We are maintaining Delicious and encourage you to keep using it. That said, we have export options if you so choose. Additionally, many services provide the ability to import Delicious links and tags."
The whole situation, of course, remains fluid.