Verizon Again Doubles Down On Yahoo After 6 Years Of Failure

from the telecoms-can't-innovate dept

You might recall that Verizon's attempt to pivot from grumpy old telco to sexy new Millennial ad brand hasn't been going so well. Oddly, mashing together two failing 90s brands in AOL and Yahoo, and renaming the coagulated entity "Oath," didn't really impress many people. The massive Yahoo hack, a controversy surrounding Verizon snoopvertising, and the face plant by the company's aggressively hyped Go90 streaming service (Verizon's attempts to make video inroads with Millennials) didn't really help.

By late 2018 Verizon was forced to acknowledge that its Oath entity was effectively worthless. By 2019, Verizon wound up selling Tumblr to WordPress owner Automattic at a massive loss after a rocky ownership stretch. Throughout all of this, Verizon has consistently pretended that this was all part of some amazing, master plan.

Those claims surfaced again this week with Verizon announcing that the company would be doubling and tripling down on the Yahoo experiment. For one, the company is launching Yahoo Shops, "a new marketplace destination featuring a curated, native shopping experience tailored to the user including innovative tech, from shoppable video to 3D try-ons, and more." It's also shifting its business model to focus more on subscriptions through Yahoo Plus, hoping to add on to the 3 million people that, for some reason, subscribe to products like Yahoo Fantasy and Yahoo Finance.

Again though, all of this sounds very much like unsurprising and belated efforts to mimic products and services that already exist. While surely somebody somewhere finds these efforts enticing, that this is the end result of its $4.48 billion Yahoo acquisition in 2017, and its 2015 $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL is just kind of...meh. It's in no way clear how Verizon intends to differentiate itself in the market, and people who cover telecom and media for a living continue to find Verizon's persistence both adorable and amusing:

Again, as companies that have spent the better part of a generation as government-pampered, natural monopolies, creativity, competition, innovation, and adaptation are alien constructs. Both AT&T and Verizon have thrown around countless billions at trying to become disruptive players in new media and advertising, and the end result has been nothing but a parade of stumbles. In fact AT&T's probably been a better poster child for this than even Verizon, given it spent $200 billion on megamergers only to lose around 8 million TV subscribers in just a few years. Growth for growth's sake isn't a real strategy.

The ultimate irony is that both companies even managed to successfully convince regulators at the FCC to effectively self-immolate, and even that couldn't buy either company the success they crave believe they're owed. Neither did the billions in money gleaned from the Trump tax cuts, which resulted in more layoffs than innovation. There are oodles of lessons here for those looking to learn from them, but absolutely no indication that's actually going to ever happen.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: content, media, websites, yahoo
Companies: verizon, yahoo


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 11:06am

    Meh the operative word here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 11:45am

    "unsurprising and belated efforts to mimic products and services that already exist"

    Hey now, nothing wrong with that.. The problem comes because knowing telecoms their definition of competition is to get subsidies from the government when they do terribly and otherwise to buy legislation to gift the market to them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 12:11pm

    Wonder What Will Become of Yahoo Small Business

    Pretty much the only Yahoo service they come close to making money off of these days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 12:27pm

    I didn't even know tumblr had been sold again. That name has crashed and burned though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2021 @ 2:02am

      Re:

      Don't worry. The PurpleKecleon fans will always find a way to express their need for bestiality porn and child grooming.

      Love will always find a way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2021 @ 1:24pm

    Excuse Me! That's Yahoo!+ (yahoo, exclamation point, plus)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 24 Mar 2021 @ 4:33pm

    Sure bet

    If they are smart, they will buy DirecTV.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 24 Mar 2021 @ 7:20pm

    Verizon will never recapture the... what? "exuberance" of the Yahoo! yodel? (more profound than you might think--watch "Mars Attacks")

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 25 Mar 2021 @ 12:42am

    "While surely somebody somewhere finds these efforts enticing, that this is the end result of its $4.48 billion Yahoo acquisition in 2017, and its 2015 $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL is just kind of...meh"

    So, names where if you mention them to anyone under the age of 25 they'll probably go "who?", while a majority over the age of 25 will likely go "wow, are they still around?" other than a small enclave of elderly users who never graduated beyond their first email address / homepage - and that's the status I believe they had before they bought them. I doubt anything's changed that much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.