I was just perusing Rafat Ali’s Reinventing Yahoo post where he recommends that Yahoo should buy TripAdvisor as the first step in a strategy to redefine itself as the “people-powered listings business”. He then goes on to suggest Yelp, HomeAway, OpenTable, Trulia (home of ex-Yahoo Local GM Paul Levine btw) and Zillow as other potential acquisitions. The idea being:
“This plan leverages its user base, still the second largest in the world, to build its future.
It allows Yahoo to be the utility layer of the world, a daily use across all forms of digital delivery, online and mobile, and at the nexus of every large internet trend: be a platform, and leverage local, social and mobile
It can continue to focus on content assets that build on top of those listings and reviews assets, as a loyalty driver.”
I’ve got to say I like the idea because what he’s really saying is that Yahoo needs to quintuple down on Local.
A few years ago Yahoo Local was a big player in the local search scene – they had a ton of traffic and were doing aggressive marketing. I am sure they still have a fair amount of traffic but as far as I can tell they have not done much to move the needle on the service in a long time. The site looks pretty much like it looked four years ago. Update: Anthony Moore, Director of Editorial at Yahoo! points me towards the new beta.local.yahoo.com which launched in December. I have always been mystified by this because as we localistas know Local is where the biggest bucks are – of course it’s also one of the hardest markets to crack at scale.
But bringing together best-of-breed players in each important vertical, who have all cracked local at scale in one way or another, could be a potential game changer for Yahoo. Of course they could always screw up the co’s once they acquire them – see Flickr – but these assets could be powerful if brought together in the right way.
Happy 2012 btw.
Update: Now that I think about it, it wouldn’t be bad idea for them to merge with eBay either, given eBay’s focus on local commerce and Yahoo’s new CEO’s PayPal/eBay background.