Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Terry Semel: A Yahoo success story

Most of us weren't expecting to see Terry Semel step down from the CEO's job at Yahoo just yet, but with Google out-Googling everybody, there's not a lot of patience to be had for the leader of the no. 2 Internet property. As former Yahoo exec Ellen Siminoff told The New York Times, “It’s not fair to say that Yahoo totally blew it. Yahoo did a fine job in search. It’s just that Google did an amazing job. So in comparison, it doesn’t look as good.” Having read both that story, and the one in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) this morning, I'd take the Journal story as being far more accurate, since it doesn't present Semel's Yahoo career as a litany of failure. In fact, Semel got Yahoo into a strong enough position after its 2001 swoon that, in a sense, it was set up to be compared to Google—even if it wasn't set up to conquer it. It was Semel who had the savvy to hire Madison Avenue types such as Wenda Harris Millard in late 2001, and Jerry Shereshevsky. And they, in turn, got the ad industry not only believing in Yahoo but in Internet advertising itself. Yahoo was the first major Internet property to bounceback after the dot-com bust, by realizing that it had to court the traditional ad industry instead of chastising it for what was once the ultimate crime: "not getting it." And it was Semel who bought search pioneer Overture, without which Yahoo couldn't even have competed in the same universe as Google. And remember when everyone was sure Semel's first move at Yahoo should be to sell it, maybe to Sony? Semel wisely withstood the pressure. Buying Flickr was another savvy move, though I've always been underimpressed with their ability to monetize it. Hiring Lloyd Braun? Not so savvy. So, while it may be true that Semel's time to push Yahoo forward has come and gone, without him Yahoo might have been counted out long ago.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Adverganza's Monday morning picks

Wherein we tell you what's worth reading from the Monday morning ad news dump:

From Ad Age:

NBC's upfront deal with Group M means the nets will make more money this year in the upfront. A five percent increase for an also-ran network? Sheesh.
—He said/he said stories on whether the iPhone will succeed. Al Ries says it won't. Jonah Bloom says it will. I'm with Bloom.
DDB's Bob Scarpelli, president of the film and press juries at Cannes, thinks the Festival's organizer's video category should have expanded beyond TV. Well, duh.
—Bob Garfield on why Infiniti's new ads (and all the ads that came before), just don't do the brand justice.

From Adweek:

Eleftheria Parpis on her Cannes picks.
—Barbara Lippert thinks Thailand could dominate at Cannes this year. Really.
Clemmow Hornby Inge & Partners' Johnny Hornby on why his agency's appearance here shouldn't be seen as a British invasion.
—Nike ain't got no soul, but Costco does? Hmmm. Unilever consultant Laurence Knight tells why.
—Brian Morrissey on European digital agencies destined to wash up stateside.

Well, Blogger destroyed my incredible insights into what was compelling about The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal (nothing, actually) and Mediapost today, and I don't have time, due to paying work, to recreate it. Suffice it to say that the only reason I'm now not liking The Sopranos' last episode is because it has had the perverse effect of making Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" zoom up to no. 17 on iTunes Top Songs chart. Oh, also I hear The Delaney Report is trying to put Bath & Body Works and Hyatt media into review.