Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It is widely known for its web portal, search engine Yahoo! Search, and related services, including Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Answers, advertising, online mapping, video sharing, fantasy sports and its social media website. It is one of the most popular sites in the United States. According to news sources, roughly 700 million people visit Yahoo! websites every month. Yahoo! itself claims it attracts "more than half a billion consumers every month in more than 30 languages."
Yahoo! Inc. was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and was incorporated on March 1, 1995. On July 16, 2012, former Google executive Marissa Mayer was named as Yahoo! CEO and President, effective July 17.
History and growth
In January 1994, Yang and Filo were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University when they created a website named "Jerry's guide to the world wide web". David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web was a directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages. In March 1994, "David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" was renamed "Yahoo!" The "yahoo.com" domain was created on January 18, 1995.
The word "yahoo" is an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle". The term "hierarchical" described how the Yahoo! database was arranged in layers of subcategories. The term "oracle" was intended to mean "source of truth and wisdom", and the term "officious", rather than being related to the word's normal meaning, described the many office workers who would use the Yahoo! database while surfing from work. However, Filo and Yang insist they mainly selected the name because they liked the slang definition of a "yahoo" (used by college students in David Filo's native Louisiana in the late 1980s and early 1990s to refer to an unsophisticated, rural Southerner): "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth." Filo's college girlfriend often referred to Filo as a "yahoo." This meaning derives from the name of a race of fictional beings from Gulliver's Travels.
Yahoo! grew rapidly throughout the 1990s. Like many search engines and web directories, Yahoo! added a web portal. It also made many high-profile acquisitions. Its stock price skyrocketed during the dot-com bubble, Yahoo! stocks closing at an all-time high of $118.75 a share on January 3, 2000. However, after the dot-com bubble burst, it reached a post-bubble low of $4.05 on September 26, 2001.
In 2000, Yahoo! began using Google for search. Over the next four years, it developed its own search technologies, which it began using in 2004. Yahoo! revamped its mail service to compete with Google's Gmail in 2007. The company struggled through 2008, with several large layoffs.
In February 2008, Microsoft Corporation made an unsolicited bid to acquire Yahoo! for USD $44.6 billion. Yahoo! formally rejected the bid, claiming that it "substantially undervalues" the company and was not in the interest of its shareholders. Three years later, Yahoo! had a market capitalization of USD $22.24 billion. Carol Bartz replaced Yang as CEO in January 2009. In September 2011, she was removed from her position at Yahoo! by the company's chairman Roy Bostock, and CFO Tim Morse was named as Interim CEO of the company.
In early 2012, after the appointment of Scott Thompson as CEO, rumors began to spread about looming layoffs. Several key executives, such as Chief Product Officer Blake Irving left. On April 4, 2012, Yahoo! announced a cut of 2,000 jobs or about 14 percent of its 14,100 workers. The cut is expected to save around $375 million annually after the layoffs are completed at end of 2012. In an email sent to employees in April 2012, Thompson reiterated his view that customers should come first at Yahoo! He also completely reorganized the company.
On May 13, 2012, Yahoo! issued a press release stating that Thompson was no longer with the company, and would immediately be replaced on an interim basis by Ross Levinsohn, recently appointed head of Yahoo!'s new Media group. Thompson's total compensation for his 130-day tenure with Yahoo! was at least $7.3 million.
On July 16, 2012, Mayer was appointed President and CEO of Yahoo!, effective the following day.
In June 2012, Yahoo! hired former Google director, Michael Barrett as its Chief Revenue Officer.
In January 2013, Yahoo! announced it had purchased the social news start-up Snip.it.
On March 1, 2013, Yahoo! announced that it was making some changes to the products it offers, including shutting down some while updating others. On April 1, the Message Boards site will close. The Yahoo! updates API will no longer be supported after April 16.
On May 16th 2013 Yahoo announced that it will begin to include relevant tweets inside their homepage news feed in a partnership with Twitter.
On May 19, 2013 the Yahoo board approved a US$1.1 billion purchase of blogging site Tumblr, and the company's CEO and founder David Karp will remain a large shareholder. The announcement reportedly signifies a changing trend in the technology industry, as large corporations like Yahoo, Facebook, and Google acquire start-up Internet companies that generate low amounts of revenue as a way in which to connect with sizeable, fast-growing online communities. The Wall Street Journal stated that the purchase of Tumblr would satisfy the company's need for "a thriving social-networking and communications hub." On May 20, the company announced the acquisition of Tumblr officially.
Products and services
Yahoo! operates a portal that provides the latest news, entertainment, and sports information. The portal also gives users access to other Yahoo! services like Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Maps, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Groups and Yahoo! Messenger.
Storing personal information and tracking usage
Working with comScore, The New York Times found that Yahoo! was able to collect far more data about users than its competitors from its websites and advertising network. By one measure, on average Yahoo! had the potential in December 2007 to build a profile of 2,500 records per month about each of its visitors. Yahoo! retains search requests for a period of 13 months. However, in response to European regulators, Yahoo! scrambles the IP address of users after three months by deleting its last eight bits.
On March 29, 2012, Yahoo! announced that it would introduce a " Do Not Track" feature that summer, allowing users to opt out of web-visit tracking and customized ads.
According to a 2008 article in Computerworld, Yahoo! has a 2-petabyte, specially built data warehouse that it uses to analyze the behaviour of its half-billion Web visitors per month, processing 24 billion daily events. In contrast the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) database of all US taxpayers weighs in at only 150 terabytes.
Yahoo! provides Internet communication services such as Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Mail. As of May 2007, its e-mail service would offer unlimited storage.
Yahoo! provided social networking services and user-generated content, including products such as My Web, Yahoo! Personals, Yahoo! 360°, Delicious, Flickr, and Yahoo! Buzz. Yahoo! closed Yahoo! Buzz, MyBlogLog, and numerous other products on April 21, 2011.
Yahoo! Photos was closed on September 20, 2007, in favour of Flickr. On October 16, 2007, Yahoo! announced that it would discontinue Yahoo! 360°, including bug repairs; the company explained that in 2008 it would instead establish a "universal profile" similar to the Yahoo! Mash experimental system.
Yahoo! partners with numerous content providers in products such as Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Music, Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Answers and Yahoo! Games to provide news and related content. Yahoo! provides a personalization service, My Yahoo!, which enables users to combine their favorite Yahoo! features, content feeds and information onto a single page.
On March 31, 2008, Yahoo! launched Shine, a site tailored for women seeking online information and advice between the ages of 25 and 54.
Co-branded Internet services
Yahoo! developed partnerships with broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. (via BellSouth & SBC), Verizon Communications, Rogers Communications and British Telecom, offering a range of free and premium Yahoo! content and services to subscribers.
Yahoo! Mobile offers services for email, instant messaging, and mobile blogging, as well as information services, searches and alerts. Services for the camera phone include entertainment and ring tones.
Yahoo! introduced its Internet search system, called OneSearch, for mobile phones on March 20, 2007. The results include news headlines, images from Flickr, business listings, local weather and links to other sites. Instead of showing only, for example, popular movies or some critical reviews, OneSearch lists local theaters that at the moment are playing the movie, along with user ratings and news headlines regarding the movie. A zip code or city name is required for OneSearch to start delivering local search results.
The results of a Web search are listed on a single page and are prioritized into categories.
As of 2012 Yahoo! used Novarra's mobile content transcoding service for OneSearch.
On October 8, 2010, Yahoo! announced plans to brings video chat to mobile phones via Yahoo! Messenger.
Yahoo! offers shopping services such as Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Autos, Yahoo! Real Estate and Yahoo! Travel, which enables users to gather relevant information and make commercial transactions and purchases online. Yahoo! Auctions were discontinued in 2007 except for Asia.
Yahoo! provides business services such as Yahoo! DomainKeys, Yahoo! Web Hosting, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, Yahoo! Business Email and Yahoo! Store to small business owners and professionals allowing them to build their own online stores using Yahoo!'s tools.
Yahoo! Search Marketing provides services such as Sponsored Search, Local Advertising and Product/Travel/Directory Submit that let different businesses advertise their products and services on the Yahoo! network.
Following the closure of a "beta" version on April 30, 2010, the Yahoo! Publisher Network was relaunched as an advertising tool that allows online publishers to monetize their websites through the use of site-relevant advertisements.
Yahoo! launched its new Internet advertisement sales system on February 5, 2007, called Panama. It allows advertisers to bid for search terms to trigger their ads on search results pages. The system considers bids, ad quality, clickthrough rates and other factors in ranking ads. Through Panama, Yahoo! aims to provide more relevant search results to users, a better overall experience, and to increase monetization.
On April 7, 2008, Yahoo! announced APT from Yahoo!, which was originally called AMP from Yahoo!, an online advertising management platform. The platform simplifies advertising sales by unifying buyer and seller markets. The service was launched in September 2008.
In September 2011, Yahoo! formed an ad selling strategic partnership with 2 of its top competitors, AOL and Microsoft. But by 2013 this was found to be underperforming in market share and revenue, as Microsoft simply skimmed off four percent of the search market from Yahoo, without growing their combined share.
Yahoo! Next is an incubation ground for future Yahoo! technologies currently undergoing testing. It contains forums for Yahoo! users to give feedback to assist in the development of these future Yahoo! technologies.
Yahoo! Search BOSS is a service that allows developers to build search applications based on Yahoo's search technology. Early Partners in the program include Hakia, Me.dium, Delver, Daylife and Yebol.
In early 2011, the program switched to a paid model using a cost-per-query model from $0.40 to $0.75 CPM (cost per 1000 BOSS queries). The price, as Yahoo! explained, depends on whether the query is of web, image, news or other information.
Yahoo! Meme is a beta social service, similar to the popular social networking sites Twitter and Jaiku.
Y!Connect enables individuals to leave comments in online publication boards by using their Yahoo! ID, instead of having to register with individual publications. The Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo! plans to mimic this strategy used by rival Facebook Inc. to help drive traffic to its site.
Yahoo! has invested resources to increase and improve access to the internet for the disabled community through the Yahoo! Accessibility Lab.
Yahoo! Axis is a desktop web browser extension and mobile browser for iOS devices created and developed by Yahoo! The browser made its public debut on May 23, 2012. A copy of the private key used to sign official Yahoo! browser extensions for Google Chrome was accidentally leaked in the first public release of the Chrome extension.
Yahoo! SearchMonkey (often misspelled Search Monkey) was a Yahoo! service which allowed developers and site owners to use structured data to make Yahoo! Search results more useful and visually appealing, and drive more relevant traffic to their sites. The service was shut down in October 2010 along with other Yahoo! services as part of the Microsoft and Yahoo! search deal. The name SearchMonkey is an homage to Greasemonkey. Officially the product name has no space and two capital letters.
Yahoo! SearchMonkey was selected as one of the top 10 Semantic Web Products of 2008.
Geocities was a popular web hosting service founded in 1995 and was one of the first services to offer web pages to the public. At one point it was the third-most-browsed site on the World Wide Web. Yahoo! purchased GeoCities in 1999 and ten years later, the web host was closed, deleting some seven million web pages. A great deal of information was lost but many of those sites and pages were mirrored at the Internet Archive, OOcities.com, and other such databases.
Yahoo! Go, a Java-based phone application with access to most of Yahoo! services, was closed on January 12, 2010.
Yahoo! 360° was a blogging/social networking beta service launched in March 2005 by Yahoo! and closed on July 13, 2009. Yahoo! Mash beta was another social service closed after one year of operation prior to leaving beta status.
Yahoo! Photos was shut down on September 20, 2007, in favour of integration with Flickr. Yahoo! Tech was a website that provided product information and setup advice to users. Yahoo! launched the website in May 2006. On March 11, 2010, Yahoo! closed down the service and redirected users to Yahoo's technology news section. Other discontinued services include Farechase, My Web, Audio Search, Pets, Live, Kickstart, Briefcase, and Yahoo! for Teachers.
Hotjobs was acquired by and merged with Monster.com.
Yahoo! Koprol was an Indonesian geo-tagging website that allowed users to share information about locations without the use of a GPS device. Koprol was acquired by Yahoo! a year following its inception and, in 2011, 1.5 million people were utilizing the website, with users also based in Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam. However, eighty percent of users were Indonesian. Yahoo! officially discontinued Koprol on August 28, 2012, because it did "not meaningfully drive revenue or engagement".
Yahoo! Mail Classic was announced as to be shut down in April of 2013. Yahoo! made a notice that starting in June of 2013, Mail Classic and other old versions of Yahoo! Mail will be shut down. All users of Mail Classic are expected to switch to the new Yahoo! Mail, use IMAP, or switch to another email service. In addition, April 2013 brought about the closure of Upcoming, Yahoo Deals, Yahoo SMS Alerts, Yahoo! Kids, Yahoo Mail and Messenger feature phone (J2ME).
Twitter slide leak on upcoming changes to Yahoo!
On December 15, 2010, one day after Yahoo! announced layoffs of 4% of its workers across their portfolio, MyBlogLog founder Eric Marcoullier posted a slide from a Yahoo! employee on Twitter. The slide was visible during an employee-only strategy webcast indicating changes in Yahoo!'s offerings.
The following services were in a column under "Sunset": Yahoo! Picks, AltaVista, MyM, AlltheWeb, Yahoo! Bookmarks, Yahoo! Buzz, del.icio.us, and MyBlogLog. Under "Merge" was: Upcoming, FoxyTunes, Yahoo! Events, Yahoo! People Search, Sideline, and FireEagle.
11 other properties were listed that Yahoo! was interested in developing into feature sites within the portal to take the place of the "Sunset" and "Merge" vacancies, including the prior feature services (before the new Yahoo! Mail was launched), were Yahoo! Address Book, Calendar, and Notepad. Yahoo!'s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President Blake Irving unofficially responded to the tweet implying that whoever sent him that particular slide is fired. Despite Notepad being listed as a feature service instead of sunset or merge in 2010, Yahoo! has since taken steps to de-emphasize Notepad. For example, in January 2013, Notepad no longer was linked within new Yahoo! mail, though it continued to be linked in the older Classic mail. Also, Notepad starting in mid to late January 2013 was no longer searchable, rendering it much less useful to users, some of whom are migrating to e.g. Google Drive (formerly Google Docs).
The blog on del.icio.us released a post by Chris Yeh after the leak, detailing that "Sunset" in their case doesn't necessarily mean they are closing down, and that other possibilities – including del.icio.us leaving Yahoo! (through sale or spinoff) – are still on the table and that del.icio.us will not close down at this time; "We can only imagine how upsetting the news coverage over the past 24 hours has been to many of you. Speaking for our team, we were very disappointed by the way that this appeared in the press." On April 27, 2011, an announcement said that del.icio.us had been sold to Avos by Yahoo!
Yahoo! Buzz was closed down on April 21, 2011 with no official announcement by Yahoo!
Yahoo! closed down MyBlogLog on May 24, 2011.
About 88% of revenues for the fiscal year 2009 came from marketing services. The largest segment of it was from search advertising, where advertisers bid for search terms to display their ads on the search results, on average Yahoo! makes 2.5 cents to 3 cents from each search.
Other forms of advertising that bring in revenue for Yahoo! include display and contextual advertising, with the latter providing the basis for the "Keystone" initiative (developed by Yahoo! to develop an "ad selection technology for direct and online marketers to place non-guaranteed advertisements on publisher sites.")
In 2000, Yahoo! was taken to court in France by parties seeking to prevent French citizens from purchasing memorabilia relating to the Nazi Party. In March 2004, Yahoo! launched a paid inclusion program whereby commercial websites were guaranteed listings on the Yahoo! search engine. Yahoo! discontinued the program at the end of 2009. Yahoo! was criticized for providing ads via the Yahoo! ad network to companies who display them through spyware and adware.
Yahoo!, as well as other search engines, cooperated with the Chinese government in censoring search results. In April 2005, dissident Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "providing state secrets to foreign entities" as a result of being identified by IP address by Yahoo! The extent of Yahoo!'s foreknowledge of Shi's fate was disputed by the company's General Counsel and human rights organizations. Human rights groups also accuse Yahoo! of aiding authorities in the arrest of dissidents Li Zhi and Jiang Lijun.
In September 2003, dissident Wang Xiaoning was convicted of charges of "incitement to subvert state power" and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Yahoo! Hong Kong connected Wang's group to a specific Yahoo! e-mail address. Both Xiaoning's wife and the World Organization for Human Rights sued Yahoo! under human rights laws on behalf of Wang and Shi.
As a result of media scrutiny relating to Internet child predators and a lack of significant ad revenues, Yahoo!'s "user created" chatrooms were closed down in June 2005. On May 25, 2006, Yahoo!'s image search was criticized for bringing up sexually explicit images even when SafeSearch was active. Yahoo! is a 40% owner of Alibaba Group, which was a subject of controversy for allowing the sale of shark-derived products. The company banned the sale of shark fin products on all its e-commerce platforms effective January 1, 2009. On November 30, 2009, Yahoo! was criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for sending a DMCA notice to whistle-blower website "Cryptome" for publicly posting details, prices, and procedures on obtaining private information pertaining to Yahoo!'s subscribers.
After some concerns over censorship of private emails regarding a website affiliated with Occupy Wall Street protests were raised, Yahoo! responded with an apology and explained it as an accident.
Yahoo! subject of cyber attacks originating in China
Adobe and Yahoo! appear to have been among the targets of cyber attacks originating in China now known as Operation Aurora.
As of January 2010, Yahoo! held the world's largest market share in online display advertising. JP Morgan put the company’s US market share for display ads at 17%, well ahead of No. 2 Microsoft at 11% and AOL at 7%. In 2011, Yahoo lost the top spot to Facebook.
Board of Directors (current)
- Alfred Amoroso (2012) – Former Chairman, Yahoo! Inc.
- John D Hayes (2012) – Executive Vice President, American Express Company and former President of Lowe & Partners
- Sue James Retired Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
- Max Levchin (2012) Chairman and CEO, HVF, LLC
- Peter Liguori (2012) Former Chief Operating Officer, Discovery Communications, Inc. and former Chairman and President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company
- Daniel S. Loeb (2012)
- Marissa Mayer (2012) – CEO Yahoo! Inc.
- Thomas J McInerney (2012) – Former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, IAC/InterActiveCorp
- Maynard Webb (2012) – Interim Chairman, Yahoo! Inc., founder, Webb Investment Network and chairman and former CEO of LiveOps
- Harry J. Wilson (2012)
- Michael Wolf (2012)
Board of Directors (past)
- Roy Bostock past Chairman, Yahoo! Inc.
- Patti Hart President and Chief Executive Officer, International Game Technology
- Vyomesh Joshi Executive Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group, Hewlett-Packard Company
- David Kenny (2011)
- Arthur Kern Private Investor
- Brad D. Smith President and Chief Executive Officer, Intuit Inc.
- Scott Thompson Yahoo! CEO
- Gary L. Wilson (2001) Private Investor General Partner, Manhattan Pacific Partners, was the chairman of the board of Northwest Airlines, chief financial officer of Walt Disney Company, and chief financial officer of Marriott Corporation.
Chief Executive Officers
- Marissa Mayer (2012–present)
- Ross Levinsohn Interim (2012)
- Scott Thompson (2012)
- Tim Morse Interim (2011–2012)
- Carol Bartz (2009–2011)
- Jerry Yang (2007–2009)
- Terry Semel (2001–2007)
- Timothy Koogle (1995–2001)
Yahoo! offers a multi-lingual interface. The site is available in over 20 languages. The official directory for all of the Yahoo! International sites is world.yahoo.com. The company's international sites are wholly owned by Yahoo!, with the exception of its Japan and China sites.
Yahoo! holds a 34.75% minority stakein Yahoo! Japan, while SoftBank holds 35.45%, Yahoo!Xtra in New Zealand which Yahoo!7 have 51% of and 49% belongs to Telecom New Zealand and Yahoo!7 in Australia which is a 50–50 agreement between Yahoo! and the Seven Network. Historically, Yahoo! entered into joint venture agreements with SoftBank for the major European sites (UK, France, Germany) and well as South Korea and Japan. In November 2005, Yahoo! purchased the minority interests that SoftBank owned in Europe and Korea.
Yahoo! used to hold a 40% stake in Alibaba, which manages a web portal in China using the Yahoo! brand name. Yahoo! in the USA does not have direct control over Alibaba, which operates as a completely independent company. On May 21, 2012, following years of negotiations, Alibaba announced that it would buy back half the 40% stake owned by Yahoo! The deal would raise about $7.1bn (£4.5bn) for Yahoo!, which has been losing ground to rivals Google and Facebook in online advertising.
On March 8, 2011 Yahoo! launched its Romania local service after years of delay due to the financial crisis.
Yahoo! officially entered the MENA region when it acquired Maktoob, a pan-regional, Arabic-language hosting and social services online portal, on August 25, 2009. Since the service is pan-regional, Yahoo! officially became Yahoo! Maktoob in the region.
Starting from December 31, 2012, Yahoo! Korea shut down all their services and left the country, with its previous domain saying in Korean, "Starting from December 31, 2012, Yahoo! Korea has ended. You can go to the original Yahoo! for more Yahoo's information."
Logos and themes
The first logo was used when the company was founded in 1995. It was red and had three icons on each side.
The logo used on the main page www.yahoo.com used to be red with a black outline and shadow, but in May 2009, along with a new theme redesign, the logo was changed to purple with no outline or shadow. This also applied to several international Yahoo! homepages. In some countries, most notably Yahoo!7 (of Australia), the logo remains red.
Themes and page designs are different on some international Yahoo! home pages.
Sometimes, the logo is abbreviated with "Y!".