Yahoo (YHOO): Lights On, Nobody Home

The first time we heard that Yahoo was unresponsive to potential partner and customer queries, we assumed the problem was just a bum salesperson.  The second time, we began to wonder.  The third and fourth times, we shook our heads and wondered aloud how such a formerly great company could have gone so wrong.  And the fifth time–this time–we decided to air the problem.

“As part of my new 100-day plan, I pledge that no Yahoo customer will have to wait more than six months for a return phone call.”

Exhibit A: This exchange, which we have reprinted (with permission) from a private message board…:

We’re exploring adding text ads on our site. Due to Yahoo’s ability to white label, known rev share and past better eCPMs with Yahoo vs. AdSense, that’s my preference. I contacted a sales guy at Yahoo who I’ve worked with in the past. After my second email, he finally replied by referring me to someone on his team. I asked when we could speak. Silence.  After a week, I pinged both salespeople.  More silence. After another week, I pinged both again and called their director. Finally, I get this email response from the sales dude:

Apologies for the delayed response.  I am completely inundated with deals and won’t likely be able to enter into discussions with you until mid December at the earliest.  We have a few high priority deals we are spending all of our time on and cannot dedicate time to new discussions until those are closed. [Translation: You are irrelevant to me]. If you will still be considering search partnerships during that time, let me know and we can go from there.  I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused you.

We’re not a big fish, but at a million uniques a month, we’re not minuscule. Given Yahoo’s desperation to compete on search, I’m pretty amazed with the response.  Anyone know a VP level sales person at the Yahoo Publisher Network? I need to do an end-run.

To this pathetic exchange, we add two open letters–one to Yahoo and one to Jerry:

Dear Yahoo:

What’s going on out there?  Do you want to do business, or do you just want to bleed and shrink apathetically away forever?  If the former, please run your customer-facing people through some rudimentary sales training.

Silicon Alley Insider

Dear Jerry:

It’s time to start firing people.

Silicon Alley Insider

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