Yahoo! is the most popular portal in the world and is present in almost all the important verticals. We will take a look at the Company’s various online verticals below.
Yahoo! Finance provides financial information, tools and advice on personal financial management. The site is among the top five finance sites. The site has numerous finance tools, which includes 66 Financial Calculators, Experts, Glossary, Rates, and 48 How-to Guides. Yahoo! launched its Personal Finance site on January 19, 2006. Yahoo! Finance has numerous content syndicates including Motley Fool, TheStreet, Seeking Alpha, Forbes, etc. which are content producers who depend on Yahoo for traffic generation. MyYahoo’s personalized portfolio tracking tool is one of the most popular around. In summary, Yahoo has successfully positioned Yahoo! Finance as a top Business & Finance destination.
The category, however, is becoming more competitive, with Murdoch’s acquisition of Dow Jones, and TheStreet.com raising money from private equity investors for acquisitions. Furthermore, there are some reports that Yahoo! Finance is losing page views and people. With CPMs rising for the category (Forbes.com is pulling $100+ CPMs), it is a pity that Jerry Yang’s team doesn’t have its act together.
Yahoo! HotJobs has 20 million registered users and contains more than 14 million resumes in its database. Yahoo! HotJobs won the Webby award in the People’s Choice category in 2005. HotJobs, originally, a job search engine, was founded in 1996. Yahoo! acquired HotJobs in 2002. Yahoo! HotJobs allows its users to search for jobs, post resume, read career advice, etc. The site has a host of tools to help both job seekers, employers and recruiters. Again, the Jobs vertical is also becoming extremely competitive. Furthermore, vertical meta search is also a phenomenon that Yahoo needs to contend with,
in form of engines like Indeed, SimplyHired, etc. The category needs a thorough strategic re-engineering inside Yahoo, and some acquisition budget.
Yahoo! Travel provides information on travel destinations, best bargains on hotel and travel fares. Like all other Yahoo! sites the Travel site is also rich in content via good syndicate deals, as well as UGC. The site allows users to search and book flights, hotels, cars, and also plan for their travel. In 2006 Yahoo! acquired FareChase, a travel search engine that allow users to search and compare fares of flights and hotels online and connects the user directly to the travel provider’s site. The vertical meta search phenomenon is active in Travel as well, with Kayak, Sidestep, etc. luring eyeballs away. On the other hand, CPMs are rising, vertical ad networks focused on travel (eg. Travel Ad Network) are becoming popular, and Yahoo needs to organize its travel strategy by taking these factors into account.
Yahoo! Sports is among the most popular sites among sports enthusiasts. The site provides live scores, news, updates, streaming videos, etc. on various sports. The covers all the major sports like Basketball, Football, Soccer, Baseball, Racing, Golf, Tennis, Boxing in detail. The site received 14.9 million unique visitors in June 2007. Yahoo! recently acquired Rivals.com and the Company has integrated it into the Yahoo! Sports site. Rivals.com is the country’s No. 1 authority on college football and basketball recruiting and team-specific college sports coverage. Vertical acquisitions need to continue to maintain its position in Sports.
Yahoo! Real Estate is among the top 10 real estate sites in the US. The site furnishes information on buying/selling of apartments, houses mortgage rates, local contractors and movers, etc. The site has a host of financial tools and calculators that allow users to make better decisions. The Company has tie-ups with Countrywide, Lending Tree, etc. Real Estate is a big category. There are a number of real estate startups out there right now, and Yahoo needs to consolidate its position.
Yahoo! Autos, is an online auto site from Yahoo. The site allows users to buy and sell both new and used cars, search for financing, insurance, product reviews and various other resources on automobiles. The site has tie-up with Auto Trader for searching used cars. The vertical is relatively underdeveloped. eBay Motors leads the category, but there are many independents out there that Yahoo could acquire.
Yahoo! Personals is an online dating service with both free and paid versions. However, the free service is limited, as only paying users can contact users they meet through Yahoo! Personals and exchange contact information. Online Dating is a major category, and Yahoo has a reasonably strong position in it. However, they would need to make acquisitions to defend their position in the long run.
Yahoo! operates various sites under entertainment. It has separate verticals for Music, Movies, TV, Video, Mobile, Games, etc. Yahoo! Movies provide consumers with information, reviews, ratings, showtime, tickets and recent events. Yahoo! Music is among the top five music sites. Yahoo! Music has 23.9 million monthly unique visitors. The site through Lauchcast radio allows users to listen to music of various genres. This site also provides information, news, music videos, reviews, ratings of music albums, etc. Online Music doesn’t have a great business model, and as such, while the music sites generate a great deal of traffic, the monetization continues to be low.
Yahoo! TV provides TV listings, news, gossip, photos and videos. Yahoo! Video is the popular video-sharing tool from Yahoo. It allows users to upload and share their videos. Videos can be tagged and they are organized under various broad categories. Online Video also doesn’t have great monetization yet.
Yahoo! Mobile allows users to get the latest updates directly on their mobile phones. It also provides the user with additional features such as booking movies and travel tickets. Yahoo! Mobile is used predominantly in the UK. It offers mobile downloads such as ringtones.
Yahoo! Games allows users to play games, such as chess, billiards, checkers and backgammon, against each other. Users can join one of various rooms and find players in these rooms to play with. Most of the games are Java applets, although some require the user to download the game, and some games are single-player.
Yahoo! Shopping is a shopping comparison site that allows users to search for, compare and buy products online. The site lists both branded as well as non-branded products.
Flickr is a photo sharing website and web services suite, and an online community platform. The service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. The idea of tagging photographs and a very user-friendly interface has made it widely popular. In March 2005, Yahoo! acquired Flickr. The big thing missing from this category is the printing and photo merchandising revenue angle, activities that have catapulted companies like Shutterfly to
incredible success in the Online Photo Sharing category.
Yahoo! 360° is a social networking site and blog host. Since its launch on 29 March 2005, it has gained over 2 million members. It was invite-only until 24 June 2005, and is currently available only to users above 13. It is a fairly sorry story, given how much social networking has grown elsewhere on the Internet. Yahoo’s attempts at acquiring Facebook have not been successful so far.
Yahoo! Answers is a service that allows users to ask and answer questions other users post. It competes with Ask MetaFilter. Yahoo! Answers uses a points system whereby points are awarded for asking and answering questions, and deducted for deleting a question or answer, or getting reported.
Other than this site also owns and operates del.icio.us, a social book-marking site, Kelkoo, a shopping search engine which operates in 10 European countries, Bix, a contest website, Yahoo! Kids, a children’s version of the Yahoo! portal, upcoming.org, a social event calendar, Yahoo! Voice, a phone company, blo.gs, a directory of recently updated weblogs, Yahoo! Tech, which offers reviews and advice for buying and using electronics, Yahoo! Food, a food and cooking site and various other sites.
Gaps in Yahoo!’ s Portfolio
Yahoo! is present in almost all the verticals. The Company is however weak in certain verticals and future acquisitions by Yahoo! will be to strengthen those verticals. Though Yahoo is a leading Internet Company it has not been able to establish its leadership in the social networking space and we could see a major acquisition coming. Other acquisitions are likely to happen to defend its position in the Finance, Travel, Real Estate, Auto, Sports, Photo and Personals verticals, each of which have emerged as major categories online.
I just hope that Yahoo doesn’t lose its opportunity in these verticals by focusing on useless horizontal acquisitions such as Zimbra.