Yahoo’s new CEO should focus on customers, not content

If Marissa Mayer follows puts a greater emphasis on products than content, she will be successful, argues the author.

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Yahoo, which has traditionally been seen as a content company, recently hired Marissa Mayer, a product person to run it.

On the Web we want to do things, and content enables us to do these things. Increasingly, the value of content is measured in what it enables us to do. In and of itself, content is of declining value. In other words, people don’t want to pay for content if they can avoid it. But they need content to help them make good decisions about other stuff they want to buy. Content is the lubricant of ecommerce.

Yahoo has been the classic Web content company. In 2009, then-CEO Carol Bartz said, “My fortunes are tied to my pages.” It was all about the page views and ads that could be sold based on having lots of page views. In 2010, TechCrunch asked Carol Bartz: “What is Yahoo?” Her reply: “Yahoo is a company that is very strong in content.”

Bartz got fired and now Mayer is in charge. Business Insider asked Internet legend Marc Andreessen what he thought of the move.

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