Yahoo (YHOO) Traffic Grinds to Halt: Fat Lady Singing?


JMP Securities analyst William Morrison takes a detailed look at Comscore’s global traffic trends for the year through July.  He writes an excellent macro piece, with several important findings.  We’ll highlight a few this afternoon, starting with the latest horrendous news at Yahoo.

The only trend that train-wreck Yahoo had going for it–global user growth–is no longer going for it.  If the company can’t reverse this trend in short order, its only hope will be to sell itself
(our thesis, not Bill’s). According to Comscore, Yahoo!’s global traffic and usage actually declined year over year.  Yahoo’s few remaining shareholder have been clinging to the hope that no matter how pathetic its recent business execution, its global audience and usage would eventually bail it out.  Well, now it seems as though this hope, too, may have long been in vain.

Importantly, the traffic decline is not just for the site as a whole, and it’s not just pageview-related.  (Yahoo explains away some of its slow pageview growth by pointing out that it now uses a lot of video and AJAX.)  Rather, it includes some of Yahoo’s most important and most profitable properties…


Yahoo attracted total worldwide users of 476 million in July, down 1% annually.  Pageviews declined 7% in the period, and minutes spent were down 1%.  Annual usage at Yahoo Mail declined by 9%, at Yahoo Games by 47%, at Yahoo News by 6%, and Yahoo Sports by 11%. On the positive side, Yahoo Messenger grew by 36%…Yahoo Answers by an astounding 332%, and Flickr by 198%.   While [this is] promising…these areas are typically monetized at a fraction of the rate of Yahoo!’s premium content areas.

Short of saying “Comscore is wrong,” it’s impossible to put a positive spin on this.  In fact, it’s an absolute disaster.  Perhaps the reason Jerry Yang doesn’t plan to announce a significant restructuring when he finishes his 100-day review is because he’s realised there’s no reason to bother.