Duck and Cover

“Yahoo Feels Breath on Neck” was the headline this morning on the New York Times‘ not-unexpected follow-up to the Google-YouTube deal. A great opportunity for Yahoo to counter its rival’s recent buzz, right? Wrong – Yahoo decided to duck and cover. From the Times:

Joanna Stevens, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, said that no Yahoo executive would comment for this article.

With no Yahoo execs available to make their case, the article relies on speculative comments from various analysts and other pundits about Yahoo’s struggles. Bad PR move! The Yahoo flacks no doubt felt the company was going to get whacked in the article regardless, so why bother trotting out an exec? Here’s why: Because your voice needs to be heard, and not just in controlled, favorable surroundings. Answer the tough questions.

Or maybe Yahoo just doesn’t have the answers. The one quote from Stevens is disturbing:

“We feel our business is very strong, even if we are not growing at the rates at which the financial community is expecting us to,” Ms. Stevens said. “Of course growth will slow when you already reach one out of two people on the Internet.”

Red alert! As soon as you hear an official glibly accepting slower growth, watch out.

“When you become Yahoo’s size, you become a little complacent, a little fat and happy,” Youssef Squali, an analyst for Jefferies & Company, told the Times. Pass the pork rinds …


One thought on “Duck and Cover”

  1. Yahoo was silly to keep its execs out of the Times. Actually, they have a very compelling story to tell that differentiates them from Google. As a marketer who buys from both, believe me, they are apples and oranges and the press’ attempts to paint them as locked in a death match is misinformed. Whether Yahoo is slow and complacent and a “traditional” internet company is another matter, but paining this as a Spy vs. Spy zero-sum game vs Google just ain’t accurate.

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