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Yahoo's new $100m advertising campaign has launched. It's multichannel and combines television, print, radio and digital. Online, chances are you've already come across some of Yahoo's ads. They're on a variety of popular websites and in many cases, they're very visible.

I ran into one on CBS Marketwatch and couldn't help notice: Yahoo is promoting GMail/Google and Facebook in a large rich media expansion ad unit.

What's interesting to me about this ad is that, despite the hefty coin Yahoo is spending to remind consumers that it still exists, the company is promoting its competitors. Yahoo competes with Google in several markets, including email, and while Yahoo doesn't have a strong consumer social network, Facebook isn't doing it any favors. After all, Facebook is today what Yahoo once was to many consumers -- the start page, the central hub of the web experience.

All of this raises an important question: is Yahoo's move to promote its connections with other services smart over the long-term?

It could be. There's something to the old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em". And right now, beating 'em doesn't looking like something Yahoo is capable of. It has basically admitted as much in the search market, where it still hopes to proceed with its plans to outsource to Microsoft. In the social networking space, Yahoo has always had the audience and foundations to build the mother of all social networks. But it hasn't been able to really pull it off, directly or indirectly. And while Yahoo Mail is still a strong player in the webmail space, webmail isn't going to reverse Yahoo's fortunes.

From this perspective, Yahoo may be wise to emphasize that it plays nicely with the rest of the consumer internet. But consumers who still use Yahoo already know that it does; consumers who don't probably won't care. Which highlights the problem with Yahoo's strategy: Yahoo isn't showing us anything new.

It's somewhat sad that part of the $100m Yahoo is spending to try to make itself seem relevant to consumers is providing free promotion to competitors that are more relevant. Perhaps Yahoo management truly believes that Yahoo can maintain relevance by being interoperable with the services that are truly relevant today but in reality, this isn't likely to help Yahoo become more than it currently is. Which, in my opinion, leaves little hope that Yahoo will turn its business around. And that, of course, is what Yahoo really needs to do.

Patricio Robles

Published 29 September, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2380 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Naveen

Would really like to see how the new campaign  turn out to be...

almost 7 years ago

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Ad

I wrote about this on my Lichfield Marketing Agency blog last week.  Only time will tell whether this is a masterstroke... or complete idiocy. But I agree completely - the social media services are SO much more relevant to people's lives now thatn Yahoo!  The big question is - how relevant will Facebook and Twitter be in 10 years' time and will they be advertising themselves to revive flagging performance?

almost 7 years ago

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Maneet Puri

I guess Social media is one such area where even if businesses are in direct competition with one another, they can still do with talking about each other and co-existing in mutually beneficial terms.

almost 7 years ago

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Hattie Fisher

i think it has made facebook crash- it has not worked in our office all day but is not blocked- is it a possibilty?

almost 7 years ago

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cai

Online users are more subject to dislike the ads irrelevant to them. Thus, to build a new platform targeted at particular users will be vital in near future. www.perkpipe.com sounds promising. Have it a try.

almost 7 years ago

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