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Yahoo retargeting attempt feels like a cry for attention

(TECH NEWS) An insightful history into the emergence and possible resurgence of Yahoo and their tools. They have some interesting strategies right now.

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In the early years of the Internet, before Google became synonymous with the term “search engine”, the Internet was a vast space, booming with new businesses focused on leveraging the new tech. You may even be familiar with some of the key players like AOL, SBC Global, and Nexus, which debuted their first search engine in the 90s. But there’s another big name we haven’t mentioned yet – one that was once a giant – Yahoo (Yahoo! Inc.).

Yahoo was started in 1994 when two Ph.D. candidates, Jerry Yang and David Filo, were looking for an easier way to find websites and to keep track of their favorite pastimes on the Internet. When they couldn’t find a tool that did what they wanted, they decided to make it themselves. The first iteration of their website was simple, with categorized links to various pages related to art, business, education, and so much more. It was less of a search engine and more of a central hub to find news and information on special-interest topics – much like a newspaper.

It didn’t take long for Yahoo to start getting some serious attention from users and potential partners. In the fall of 1994, the company had its first million-hit day, with about 100,000 unique visitors. After that, Yang and Filo saw the need to bring on new team members (executives, primarily) and to start raising some capital. So, they brought on Tim Koogle (of Motorola) as the Chief Executive Officer and Jeffrey Mallett (founder of Novell’s WordPerfect consumer group) and by 1996, they had 49 employees and $33.8 million in funding.

In 2017, Verizon purchased the company’s one-time web portal, and its assets, for $4.48 billion. By this time, they owned AOL, too, which they eventually merged with Yahoo, creating a new entity called Oath. Verizon had a lot of work to do, continuing to invest in existing properties, and promising loyal users that they wouldn’t lose any of their favorite tools.

Fast forward 20+ years and the company has seriously petered out. It even lost its name when it sold its assets to Verizon, leaving the remnants of what was once Yahoo with a new name and mission. The company was renamed Altaba and turned into a closed-end management investment firm. But in October of this year, the company filed a Certificate of Dissolution, meaning they’re closing their doors as a legal business entity.

As with many company closures, Altaba liquidated their remaining assets, such as their Alibaba shares.

Now that the company is gone, all we have left of the Yahoo name is what Verizon has made of it. It continues to be an email provider and news portal for many, but how does its search engine stack up against current search big-wigs like Google and Bing? According to StatCounter, Google is the most-used search engine (no surprise here), with 92.6% of searchers using their search tools.

After that is Bing, which accounts for 2.44% of searchers, and finally, Yahoo, with a mere 1.86% of searchers using the site to find their engine results. Compared to its early successes, the amount of people using their service now is a total drop in the bucket compared to what it was like in its heyday, so it’s no surprise that they’re now actively advertising to get more business. But the way they’re approaching it is certainly a little odd.

Yahoo has begun to retarget people who are searching for specific products. Now, retargeting is a very popular marketing strategy for brands and services, but typically, what you’re being retargeted for makes perfect sense. As an example, let’s look at the branded stickers I was on the hunt for a couple weeks ago. I had already completed my search and purchase with Sticker Mule when I decided to take a break and head on over to Instagram. While scrolling through my feed, I noticed an ad from Yahoo.

I was a little surprised, as I haven’t seen a Yahoo ad in many years, so I took a deeper look. Turns out, they weren’t just targeting me as a search user, but they were actually re-targeting my need for stickers and using it to try to get me to use their search engine to find my stickers. Here’s a quick look at their ad:

yahoo retargeted ad

Then once it is clicked, you are taken here.

yahoo redirect

When it comes down to it, it feels like the company is grasping at straws to get searchers to use their engine, but is this their final plea for attention? Only time will tell.

Rachael Olan is a Texas-based Staff Writer at The American Genius and jack-of-many-trades. She's well known for her abilities in Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service, with a focus on SaaS and eCommerce businesses. Outside of writing, Rachael spends much of her time with her swarm of pets, including a 70 lb tortoise named Frankie.

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Loss of internet access is used as punishment for those who abuse it

(TECH NEWS) Internet access is becoming more of a human right especially in light of recent events –so why is revoking it being used as a punishment?

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When one hears the word “punishment”, several things likely come to mind—firing, fees, jail time, and even death for the dramatic among us—but most people probably don’t envision having their access to utilities restricted as a legal repercussion.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening across the country—if you consider Internet access a utility.

In the past, you’ve probably heard stories about people awaiting trial or experiencing probation limitations being told that they are not to use the Internet or certain types of communication. While this may seem unjust, the circumstances usually provide some context for the extreme nature of such a punishment; for example, it seems reasonable to ask that a person accused of downloading child pornography keep off the internet.

More recently–and perhaps more controversially—a young man accused of using social media to incite violent behavior during country-wide protests was ordered to stay offline while awaiting trial. This order came after the individual purportedly encouraged people to “[tip] police cars”, vandalize property, and generally exhibit other “riot”-oriented behaviors.

Whether or not one reads this post as a specific call to create violence—something that is, in fact, illegal—the fact remains that the “punishment” for this crime in lieu of a current conviction involves cutting off the person involved from all internet access until a verdict is achieved.

The person involved in this story may be less than sympathetic depending on your stance, but they aren’t alone. The response of cutting off the Internet in this case complements other stories we’ve seen, such as one regarding Cox and a client in Florida. Allegedly, the client in question paid for unlimited data—a potential issue in and of itself—and then exceeded eight terabytes of monthly use on multiple occasions.

Did Cox correct their plan, allocate more data, throttle this user, or reach out to explain their concerns, you may ask?

No. Cox alerted the user in question that they would terminate his account if his use continued to be abnormally high, and in the meantime, they throttled the user’s ENTIRE neighborhood. This kind of behavior would be unacceptable when applied to any other utility (imagine having your air conditioning access “throttled” during the summer), so why is it okay for Cox?

The overarching issue in most cases stems from Internet provider availability; in many areas, clients have one realistic option for an Internet provider, thus allowing that provider to set prices, throttle data, and impose restrictions on users free of reproach.

Anyone who has used Comcast, Cox, or Cable One knows how finicky these services can be regardless of time of use, and running a simple Google speed test is usually enough to confirm that the speeds you pay for and the speeds you receive are rarely even close.

In the COVID era in which we find ourselves, it is imperative that Internet access be considered more than just a commodity: It is a right, one that cannot be revoked simply due to a case of overuse here, or a flaw in a data plan there.

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How to personalize your site for every visitor without learning code

(TECH NEWS) This awesome tool from Proof lets you personalize your website for visitors without coding. Experiences utilizes your users to create the perfect view for them.

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experiences welcome page

What if you could personalize every step of the sales funnel? The team over at Proof believes this is the next best step for businesses looking to drive leads online. Their tool, Experiences, is a marketer-friendly software that lets you personalize your website for every visitor without coding.

Using Experiences your team can create a targeted experience for the different types of visitors coming to your website. The personalization is thought to drive leads more efficiently because it offers visitors exactly the information they want. Experiences can also be used to A/B test different strategies for your website. This could be a game changer for companies that target multiple specific audiences.

Experiences is a drag-and-drop style tool, which means nearly anyone on your team can learn to use it. The UX is meant to be intuitive and simple, so you don’t need a web developer to guide you through the process. In order to build out audiences for your website, Experiences pulls data from your CRM, such as SalesForce and Hubspot, or you can utilize a Clearbit integration which pull third-party information.

Before you go rushing to purchase a new tool for your team, there are a few things to keep in mind. According to Proof, personalization is best suited for companies with at least 15,000 plus visitors per month. This volume of visitors is necessary for Experiences to gather the data it needs to make predictions. The tool is also recommended for B2B businesses since company data is public.

The Proof team is a success story of the Y Combinator demo day. They pitched their idea for a personalized web experience and quickly found themselves funded. Now, they’ve built out their software and have seen success with their initial clients. Over the past 18 months, their early-access clients, which included brands like Profitwell and Shipbob, have seen an increase in leads, proposals, and downloads.

Perhaps the best part of Proof is that they don’t just sell you a product and walk away. Their website offers helpful resources for customers called Playbooks where you can learn how to best use the tool to achieve your company’s goals be it converting leads or engaging with your audience. If this sounds like exactly the tool your team needs, you can request a demo on their website.

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Tech News

3 cool ways bug-sized robots are changing the world

(TECH NEWS) Robots are at the forefront of tech advancements. But why should we care? Here are some noticeable ways robots are changing the world.

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Bits of robots and microchips changing the world.

When we envision the robots that will (and already are) transforming our world, we’re most likely thinking of something human- or dog-sized. So why are scientists hyper-focusing on developing bug-sized (or even smaller!) robots?

Medical advances

Tiny robots could assist in better drug delivery, as well as conduct minor internal surgeries that wouldn’t otherwise require incisions.

Rescue operations

We’ve all heard about the robot dogs that can rescue people who’ve been buried beneath rubble or sheets of snow. However, in some circumstances these machines are too bulky to do the job safely. Bug-sized robots are a less invasive savior in high-intensity environments, such as mine fields, that larger robots would not be able to navigate without causing disruption.

Exploration

Much like the insects after which these robots were designed, they can be programmed to work together (think: ants building a bridge using their own bodies). This could be key in exploring surfaces like Mars, which are not safe for humans to explore freely. Additionally, tiny robots that can be set to construct and then deconstruct themselves could help astronauts in landings and other endeavors in space.

Why insects?

Well, perhaps the most important reason is that insects have “nature’s optimized design”. They can jump vast distances (fleas), hold items ten times the weight of their own bodies (ants) and perform tasks with the highest efficiency (bees) – all qualities that, if utilized correctly, would be extremely beneficial to humans. Furthermore, a bug-sized bot is economical. If one short-circuits or gets lost, it won’t totally break the bank.

What’s next?

Something scientists have yet to replicate in robotics is the material elements that make insects so unique and powerful, such as tiny claws or sticky pads. What if a robot could produce excrement that could build something, the way bees do in their hives, or spiders do with their webs? While replicating these materials is often difficult and costly, it is undoubtedly the next frontier in bug-inspired robotics – and it will likely open doors for humans that we never imaged possible.

This is all to say that in the pursuit of creating strong, powerful robots, they need not always be big in stature – sometimes, the tiniest robots are just the best for the task.

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