Flash analysis: assessing Yahoo’s options

Long a big force in online media, Yahoo is struggling. After firing CEO Carol Bartz — after which Om recommended the board of directors fire itself as well — the company announced it would enter a strategy review that apparently could include selling part or all of the company. Yahoo’s once-successful online portal business model combining content, communications and web navigation has lost momentum and advertising revenues to search engines and social media. So we decided to ask GigaOM readers what they thought Yahoo should do, and we published the results in this flash analysis on GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

Respondents to our survey don’t have high hopes that Yahoo will be able to manage itself out of its malaise. They said they think staying independent gives Yahoo the best chance to be successful but by a slim five to four margin: Fifty percent suggested some variations on independence, while 41 percent listed options like merge or break up. Worse, they thought a merger or breakup was the likelier outcome (59 percent to 38 percent, respectively).

Over the past several years, Yahoo has missed out on major consumer digital trends: for example, the social troika of media, commerce and gaming, and it has done little in online video or mobile services. Its strategy to partner with Microsoft on search and leave the heavy technology investment to Redmond isn’t showing much yet. Perhaps co-founder Jerry Yang can help take Yahoo private so it can concentrate on being an online media company, as Mathew Ingram suggests.

GigaOM readers we surveyed think Yahoo should seek out a technology company (54 percent) rather than media partner (34 percent). But an overwhelming number (84 percent) think it needs help with its overall vision and strategy, and the respondents themselves seem undecided on what course Yahoo should steer. I’m with Mathew: Yahoo could double down on its media potential by selling a few assets and making some strategic acquisitions.

We asked GigaOM readers which companies might make a good partner for Yahoo, what its most valuable assets were, and what it needed the most help with. We also asked what a potential Yahoo merger might mean for the industry. See the full results of the survey, along with comments from the respondents and our GigaOM Pro analysis, in this Flash analysis research note (subscription required).

Image courtesy of Flickr user  ??ø???_B?????_BACK_FROM_PRAGUE