After Terry Semel abruptly resigned as Yahoo's CEO, founder Jerry Yang promised precipitous action — the hackneyed "100-day plan." But now, we hear that his new strategy is anything but swift in execution. Codenamed "Project Apex," the solution to Yahoo's woes centers around building a better version of Google's AdSense. AdSense, of course, is the service that places ads on third-party websites, matching the ads to their content. Yahoo already has a similar service called Yahoo Publisher Network, but it's "a clusterfuck," according to one Yahoo insider. The only problem? Yahoo's tech team thinks they can finish it in three years. Three years! (What's the average tenure of a Yahoo executive today? Will anyone be around to see this through?)
Project Apex, which may be the subject of a rumored Yahoo leadership meeting set for tomorrow, is not to be confused with Panama. Panama is the recently released but also painfully long-in-the-making supposed Yahoo savior, an ad-targeting system similar to Google's AdWords, used primarily for Yahoo's own sites. As a revamp of the current Yahoo Publisher Network, Project Apex might help boost Yahoo's ad revenues generated on partner sites, but it hardly seems like the boldest of moves.
We suspect that the uncreative and safe nature of this new direction stems from its hasty assembly. When asked about Yang's supposed 100-day plan, a friend confessed:
The punchline is that there is no plan. Yang was just saying it in a conversational, rally-the-troops sort of way, not realizing that the Street and the Valley were going to to mark that date in red ink and count the days.... The first rule of being CEO: don't set your company up to fail.