Friday, May 7, 2010

Yahoo Thinks it's Still 1998

Gizmodo posted recent Yahoo ad where they take aim at Google: Yahoo Bitch Slaps Google In $85 Million Ad Campaign - Yahoo vs google - Gizmodo. I found the ad to be very striking but perhaps not in a way that bodes well for Yahoo. The thing that struck me was how retro it felt. Yahoo is basically promoting itself as a "web portal" even if the words never appear in their commercial. And for good reason, web portals were wiped out in the early 2000s by the bursting of the Dotcom bubble and by a new search engine called "Google."

Portals were all the rage in the mid to late 90s. They were huge, bloated pages that expected you to slog through tons of ads and links just to type in a few search terms. The result was huge, slow loading home pages at a time when most people still connected to the Internet through relatively slow dial-up modems. But they had "everything you need in one place"—never mind that if all you want is one thing, you'll have to wait for everything else to load and put up with numerous distractions.

And now Yahoo is for all intents and purposes trying to bring the concept back. The truth is that they never really abandoned the concept. When Yahoo started out it was more of a directory of websites than a real search engine. And they've stayed true to that concept even as the rest of the Internet abandoned it.

The bottom line is which page looks cleaner and easier to use?

This one?

Or this one?

Good luck Yahoo. I hope this turns out better for you than it did for these guys.

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