Yahoo’s Latest Results Good, CEO Mayer Cites ‘A Lot of Headroom’ in Search

Yahoo_homepage_mayer-580x397You do realize that Yahoo is still lurking about the place, right?

Lurking about to the tune of $1.22B in Q4 of 2012 which was a 4% increase over the previous year’s results. It’s so interesting how the Internet industry has basically dismissed a company that does that kind of revenue. If I had to guess, though, I would say that CEO Marissa Mayer might not want it any other way.

You see the only news we get these days from Yahoo for the most part is good, or at least improving, results. Mayer has two quarters under her belt and is is giving indications that Yahoo is ready to become truly viable again. I, for one, am rooting HARD for their success.

Why? It’s really contained in the one little statement that was noted by TechCrunch

Mayer said that the biggest opportunities for Yahoo lie in “search, display, mobile and video,” and, in search, especially, Mayer still sees “a lot of headroom.”

Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of the the reality that Google is probably a bit too dominant and that Bing’s business approach of whining about Google’s power is old and is not getting them anywhere further than where they have been for the past year or so?

That said, I think it would be awesome to see Yahoo! emerge as the best alternative to Google in search. After all, the company is being led by someone who knows so much about Google and likely has more than a few ideas she would like to see come to life that couldn’t, or simply didn’t, happen with Google.

It’s not like she is aiming for the ‘soft white underbelly’ of Google to destroy it (extra points to anyone who can name the classic rock band from the NY area that used that name for secret shows way back before their music was classic). No, I suspect she is smarter than that and is looking at underserved areas that would simply be attractive to searchers that would cause them to consider Yahoo! as the best alternative to Google. There’s a lot of unmet need in that area.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of folks who would like a real alternative to Google other than Bing. I am one of them and I could probably be labeled a Google fan boy pretty easily. That said, I still like options and I would like to see Google pushed in search especially in the age of social.

The big question in all of this is of course the relationship, which for all intents and purposes seems limited or even failed, between Microsoft and Yahoo. Should Yahoo fly solo in search again? Could Mayer recover enough of the old search infrastructure and build it out to be better than Bing? Please, Lord, let’s hope so.

It’s not that Bing is a bad search engine. It is that it’s just not a good challenger to Google. Google has too many other Internet productivity tools and options that make it more appealing. Bing has Microsoft. Enough said.

Yahoo, however, is an Internet publisher and still has properties like Yahoo Mail and Flickr (especially with its iOS app seeing a 25% jump in use in the quarter) which are tried and true brands that enough people still use that could be revived and help Yahoo be the more well-rounded competitor that is needed to push Google.

Maybe this is just a fantasy. Maybe there really is no one who can offer an exciting alternative to Google for pure web search. Having already tried Facebook’s Graph Search it is apparent that there is a place for some of that (meaning social search or whatever you want to call it) but I doubt very much that it will ever replace or even truly challenge Google search.

So who really can? Why not a venerable Internet brand being led by a search pioneer? Hey, everyone loves a comeback story and it seems that Yahoo could be poised for one itself.

Your thoughts?

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