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Deadly Delusion: Personalization as a Form of Content?

You really can’t blame many internet observers for getting excited about the addition of Marissa Mayer to Yahoo’s executive team. Marissa Mayer was a big figure at Google and she brings a fresh perspective to the table. With all that said, the biggest improvements Mayer has made was to stem Yahoo’s exodus of talent and also increase its overall talent pool by doing lots of acqui-hire deals where she should ostensibly buy out a company but the buyout is really all about getting talent.

While these are great steps in the right direction, more has to be done. Marissa Mayer’s big vision for Yahoo is that personalization is a form of content. Yahoo is not as embarrassed to say that it is a content company and personalization is a form of content. That’s great and wonderful but the problem is that it may be too little too late. Personalization is one thing but at the end of the day, is this content compelling enough?

In fact, users are not just really looking for content because if they want content, they’d find it on Facebook and many other services. That is not the problem here but the problem is what does Yahoo bring to the table that would answer the big visions of companies like Google and Facebook that are out to take its lunch. Yahoo is sitting on a huge amount of traffic and trying to milk as much ad money out of that but the clock is running out.

Yahoo needs to make a big bold move in terms of a dramatic grand vision of where it wants to go in the future and the old vision of just buying companies based on traffic and milking ad revenues from a huge amount of traffic is not going to cut it because traffic can evaporate overnight.