QueTwo's Blog

thouoghts on telecommunications, programming, education and technology

Why is being #2 a bad thing?

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Some things in life I don’t think I’ll ever get. What is so wrong with getting the silver metal, or #2 in line.

I’ll start off the post with saying that everybody should strive to be the "winner" (if they want to, of course).  I do it all the time.  There is something to be said about being on the top of your game.

But with the recent turn of events at Yahoo, one of my favorite companies, it seems that being the second biggest search engine is not good enough for investors. The "market" (which for the most part seems to be WallStreet tycoons that barely know how to check their own email, and ultra-geeks who shun anybody whom dosen’t use Linux) has pretty much told the world that Yahoo is useless.  Let alone the fact that they are still listed as the most popular website globally, they are tagged as being "non-innovative", "stagnent", or "dead". If you read Slahdot (which *always* has the most accurate information, ahem), you will leave thinking that Yahoo gets all of 10 hits a day.

Yet, Yahoo is being forced into a corner with their backs to the walls for being the #2 search company on the web. Does Google garner more searches? Yeah, probably.  But the Yahoo portal (which includes just about everything under the sun, such as News, Yellow Pages, Travel, Socal Networking, Mapping, most of which they are pretty good at) is much more than search.  This would be akin to a car coming with the #2 brand tires and told that it is useless, although the rest of it is far superior to every other car out there. 

While I do blame most of the Yahoo problem on day-traders and bump-and-dump stock holders, the internet community as a whole is not helping. Saying that they are not relevant when it is only true for themselves will end up hurting the community as a whole.  I don’t blame Microsoft on this one — they are looking out for their own interests, and I respect that (they are in a distant 3rd for search, almost #4 behind the FaceBook). 

Let Yahoo keep their Silver metal.  They meet the needs of very many people who just don’t like the others. They do good in many places, and seem to be a very wholseome company.

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4 responses to “Why is being #2 a bad thing?

  1. TJ Downes July 16, 2008 at 1:38 am

    I tend to agree with you. IMHO Yahoo has done a far better job on their APIs and apps than Google. They have more originality, better UI and more flexibility. Yahoo had the first Flash-based mapping API. The usability of their sites and products, overall, is much better than Google.

  2. Steve Schelter July 16, 2008 at 2:29 am

    It’s all relative.

    #2 in a race between 2000 people is more impressive than #2 in a race between 20 people. In Yahoo’s case, how many search engines are participating in the race?

    If you took the three highest search services, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, respectively…Google’s usage is greater than Yahoo and Microsoft combined.

    This is the significance of Google’s shadow over Yahoo.

  3. Tina July 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    #2 shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, but it is. google may be # 1, but personnaly I find yahoo a thousand times more inviting.

  4. Darth Sidious July 25, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Well, keep in mind investors don’t care that much about where a company is today, they’re only concerned about the future. So the stock price is reflective of the future, not the present.

    Also the product offerings – social networking, travel, yellow pages, and all the stuff you listed also has little to do with what investors care about. You can have the #1 top selling product; but if you’re not making money on it, investors don’t like that. It’s the financial status that matters, not the popularity or quality of the products. Obviously popularity, market share, etc… does have a direct relationship to the bottom line, it’s the financial perspective that they’re looking at.

    Investors also look for financial growth ; so being #2 is a double edged sword. If you’re #92 you’ve got lots of room to grow. If you’re near the top already, where are you going grow? And if the only place to grow is eating into the marketshare of a company like Google; investors will evaluate the viability of whether Yahoo’s Executive Team has the skills to be able to pull that off (i.e, technological capability plays little into that evaluation).

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