CEO Carol Bartz wants Yahoo to be “your home on the Web.”
To us, that means Yahoo is a portal.
But even though calling itself a “portal” would be a simple and helpful way for Yahoo to describe itself for shareholders, customers, and brand advertisers alike, the company refuses to call itself one.
“Portal is a bad word these days,” says one Yahoo source.
“To me when you say portal it means come here, stay here, and I don’t think that’s what we’re trying to do.”
But according to Wikipedia, a portal is “a links page” that “presents information from diverse sources in a unified way.” That doesn’t sound like a place that tries to keep its user locked up.
The real reason Yahoo refuses to call itself a portal? Google.
Back when Google first launched, the press and everyone else wanted to call it a portal and lump it in with Excite, AltaVista, MSN, AOL, and Yahoo. But Google refused the label.
Then Google’s business took off.
And because it’s a copycat world, and one in which correlation always gets confused with causation, it suddenly became very important for Web businesses to tell their shareholders, customers, and advertisers: “We are not a portal!”
This is nonsense, of course. Not only has Yahoo always been a portal, it has always been the most successful, popular one. We think it should embrace these roots, drop the “your home on the Web” stuff, and go back to calling itself by the one word that explains it all.
But it won’t.
So let’s do Carol and company a favour, and help her come up with new word or phrase that gets the point across, shall we?
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