How Yahoo Could Get Microsoft To Increase Their Bid

Yesterday saw Yahoo anounce earnings that took many in the industry by surprise. As Michael Arrington on TechCrunch (not a breakfast cereal for robots) summarised:

Total revenue for the quarter was $1.8 billion, net revenues were $1.35 billion. Net Income was $542 million, or $0.37 per share. Analysts were expecting Q1 net revenues of around $1.33 billion, ebitda of $435 million and EPS of $0.09/share.

It seems however that this isn’t going to be enough to make Steve Ballmer increase the Microsoft bid. As Reuters reports:

We think we can accelerate our strategy by buying Yahoo and will pay what makes sense for our shareholders.. I wish Yahoo all the success with its results but it doesn’t affect the value of Yahoo to Microsoft.

So what the hell could Yahoo do to make Microsoft do to up the bid? Well let’s look at what Yahoo does well. Its search engine is doing OK, in the US at least, but then so is Microsoft’s (relatively speaking). Where Yahoo is really ahead of the competition is with its photo (and now video) sharing site, flickr. And if they could increase the number of people paying for premium membership, well, maybe that would be enough to push Ballmer into putting his hands (further) into his pockets.

Whilst it recently overtook its main US rival Photobucket in terms of traffic, it is now dropping again, perhaps as a reaction to the introduction of video to the site, which hasn’t been too popular with a lot of users.

Or maybe it’s because, despite the fact that flickr’s parent company Yahoo owns a search engine, flickr’s breaking one of the first rules of SEO.

You see you can get to flickr at both http://www.flickr.com and at http://flickr.com. Now this means two things.

  1. flickr is wasting a lot of links. Because whilst there are millions of links pointing at www.flickr.com, there are also a fair few pointing at the version sitting at http:flickr.com. If Yahoo were to redirect one of these versions to the other, so that there was one canonical version of flickr, it would undoubtedly help their SEO. Maybe then they would even rank #1 on Google (because that’s the engine you need to worry about) for terms like photo sharing which they don’t currently do in the US or the UK.
  2. They could end up being blacklisted for spam. You see engines don’t take kindly to sites that try to pull tricks in order to rank highly, or to try and flood the results pages with multiple versions of the same piece of content. I remember working with a site a few years ago that had a similar problem and Yahoo kicked it out of its trusted feed. Now I’m guessing that Yahoo won’t do that to flickr, but can you imagine if Google penalised it? How embarrassing would that be?

Anyway, this needn’t be a big issue. All they need to do is sign up for a Google Webmaster tools account and then they could select which version of the site they want to be the canonical version. Alternatively, if they’ve got any spare developers, they could implement a 301 redirect. I’m not a techie, but I’ve been told it’s a pretty simple thing to do.

Anyway, I hope that the people at flickr don’t take this personally; I’m a huge fan of the site, and if they wanted to give me my next year of premium membership for free as a thank you, I wouldn’t be offended.

(With thanks to Matthew Inman for inspiration)

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3 comments

  1. Ciaran

    Hi Laura,

    Please do – I really am a huge fan of flickr, and would be dead chuffed if I noticed this had been fixed.

    Cheers

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