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.

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6 Response Comments

  • Victor Wong  January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    It would be a return to the original roots of Yahoo as a human curated directory. It’s a good idea.

  • Craig  January 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Who/what is yahoo? 🙂

  • Cody Baird  January 7, 2012 at 8:41 am


    I love this line of thought. It would be amazing to see someone step up and battle some of the market share away with some of Google’s recent moves (not found) etc. How likely do you think it is that another player (anyone) will step up to the challenge?

    I wonder what the “all things search” environment is going to look like in 5 years without competition for Google to keep them on their toes.

  • Chris Reilly  January 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    If not an eBay merger, there is certainly some potential for alignment via the xCommerce ecosystem. Some kind of combo of local content, local advertising, and local/mobile online commerce. They already have integration with Milo and there are SEM tools vendors that are trying to create local SEM products for xcom as well…

    Although, whenever somebody mention’s xcom I can just think of the 90’s alien vs. humans video game I wasted so many hours on…

  • Louis  January 9, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Yahoo is working on becoming more local as we speak. They have plans launch their own ‘Web of Objects’ initiative to provide a greater shared knowledge base. They actually have some interesting plans for local searches and the like. I found this here: http://blog.schema.org/2011/12/building-web-of-objects-at-yahoo.html. If you click through to the “conference site” link and open up the ppt Yahoo presented you can see more.

  • John Slocum  February 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Yahoo has been local with respect to competing with local real estate websites so, I hope they don’t get too aggressive in this particular industry!