How Can Yahoo Stay Relevant in a Post-Mobile Future?

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By J Maslow

Yahoo Website On Google Nexus 5
Yahoo Website On Google Nexus 5

If you are a Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) shareholder, you should probably be thinking about the future. Yahoo, in the eyes of some tech industry observers, is a relic of the Web 1.0 past. In their minds, Yahoo’s best days are well behind it. Yahoo has gone through billions of dollars of revenue as well as stock value and, to be perfectly honest, doesn’t have much to show for it. It seems to be stuck in neutral. While it’s still getting a lot of traffic and has a solid brand, these might not be enough to guarantee a decent future for this company.

Yahoo has to look ahead and look at not just the state of the technology market as it currently exists but also the place it sees for itself in the post-mobile future. Here are some ideas based on Yahoo’s existing content and technology infrastructure as to how it can carve out a niche for itself in the future.
Marketer-sourced content 
Yahoo has been buying content networks. It has no great shortage of content. The problem is that it’s paying too much for that content. Moreover, it hasn’t been absorbing these acquisitions seamlessly into its existing infrastructure. Not surprisingly, a lot of Yahoo’s content become flat or stale after a while.
Maybe a better alternative would be to stop acquiring websites but to partner up with marketers to produce content. Marketers have a vested interest in producing content. This content is self-serving to be sure but with the proper arrangement, marketers can be incentivized to produce high-quality content in the hopes of getting a share of Yahoo’s very valuable traffic flow. It can easily become a win-win situation, and this can drastically reduce Yahoo’s content generation costs.
With the right technology framework, offloading content production to marketers and agencies can also lead to Yahoo keeping up with content trends. This is crucial because if Yahoo is serious in retaining its substantial traffic flow and possibly growing it, Yahoo has to get new, engaging, and relevant content on a sustainable basis. By offloading a lot of the generation costs to marketers with a promise that they might possibly make some money off that content, Yahoo can increase its profit margin by reducing its costs and increasing its possible content consumption. Content producers are also incentivized to pump non-Yahoo traffic into Yahoo’s content infrastructure.
Increase content customization 
Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, talks a big game about personalization and user-centered content consumption model. While this all sounds good, there’s really not much there in terms of actual practice. Yahoo’s actual implementation of personalization doesn’t really set it apart from its competition. This is a serious problem.
If Yahoo is serious about content customization, it should focus on user-generated content. Allow users to generate their own content on a larger scale and most importantly, let them enjoy the fruits of their labor. That’s right: Compensate them for user-generated content. This might seem like an outright bribe, and it is, but it might just be the key to enabling Yahoo to become relevant in a post-mobile future.
Instead of users generating content for free at Facebook, maybe they would stick around Yahoo because they’re getting paid to generate that content. Moreover, they benefit from sharing that content by curating it via mobile devices with social media sites. Instead of Yahoo being run over by Facebook, Yahoo can actually hold its own by turning its existing substantial user base into content and traffic partners.


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