Yahoo’s Yang Speaks About Direction

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The recent acquisition of Right Media by Yahoo for in excess of $800 million has been on the radar of many analysts and Right Media customers for the past several months. The question of how Yahoo will leverage the exchange model of Right Media is still unfolding. As Yahoo is preparing to fight for dominance in a competitive market of Google and Microsoft the Right Media exchange may prove to be an important card in winning the game.

Right Media launched the Right Media Open conference this week on the west coast to bring customers and thought leaders together to discuss the next steps for Right Media and Yahoo. Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo, Inc. spoke at the morning presentation and reinforced his current view of Yahoo, “I do not see Yahoo as a troubled company, if you step outside of silicon valley and evaluate the impact of Yahoo it’s very successful and performing well.”

Yang defined his future vision of Yahoo as evolving to embrace the yield based exchange model, “Yahoo will have to embrace openness and become more of a platform business.” On the sales side Yahoo has traditionally been an agency relationship driven media business not unlike television or print. While Yahoo will continue to leverage this style of selling, the future seems to be drive towards frictionless performance, “Exchanges drive efficiency through performance and we need to leverage that to become competitive,” said Yang.

As Yahoo fights in a Google dominated search world, Jerry Yang has chosen three core principles in articulating the focus, “We must live by openness, leverage the data to be smarter and improve upon our partnerships with important companies like Comcast.” Mr. Yang reinforced his views that display advertising hasn’t had much innovation over the years and now it’s time, “Understanding consumer intent is important, we need to connect the intent to the advertisers.” Clearly the Yahoo CEO sees the future of the company in being more of a buyer and seller of advertising media in a yield based economy.

Life at the top is always hard, but Jerry Yang is in charge of one of the most important battles for the future of Internet media dominance, “It is very lonely being CEO, I love my new role, but people treat you different and look to me for answers.” His calm demeanor underscores the war that continues to rage on with Google, Microsoft and others, Right Media is clearly one important piece of the battle but only time will tell if Mr. Yang will have the right answers.

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