Do you kick Yahoo?

By Scott Rosenberg

Published March 14, 2001 8:30PM (EST)

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In response to Scott Rosenberg's defense of Yahoo and his assertion that the manic-depressive and overreactive marketplace is responsible for the Yahoo stock tumble, I agree that many stock market highs and lows are the result of the self-fulfilling prophecies of the media. But at the same time, maybe it's a good thing to dissect businesses like Yahoo to see what's inside.

What is Yahoo? What does it produce? Where does its revenue come from? Its revenue does not come from selling any kind of product, and not even from selling any kind of service to the people it needs in order to survive: its users. Yahoo's revenue comes from advertising.

And unlike other free services such as television or radio, whose revenue also comes from advertising, Yahoo does not produce any added-value product that renders it distinct and irreplaceable. To me, Yahoo produces nothing, and is basically a Web site like millions of others. Yahoo depends on its "Do You Yahoo?" mystique to attract "jump on the bandwagon" users and get money for peddling other people's products and creations.

The slogan "Do You Yahoo?" is pure smarmy marketing to build up a mystique around this site as if it did something magical, as if "Yahooing" were something unique, and not just clicking on links and surfing the Web like you can do on any search engine or on hundreds if not thousands of other Web portals and pages.

Personally, I see companies like Yahoo and other marketing and media-hyped emperors of the "dot-com economy" as really wearing no clothes.

-- Meredith Brunel

By Salon Staff

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