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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.

Tech News

Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.

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Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Tech News

Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.

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Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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Tech News

Smart clothing could be used to track COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) In order to track and limit the spread of COVID-19 smart clothing may be the solution we need to flatten the curve–but at what cost?

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COVID tracking clothing

When most people hear the phrase “smart clothing”, they probably envision wearables like AR glasses or fitness trackers, but certainly not specially designed fabrics to indicate different variables about the people wearing them–including, potentially, whether or not someone has contracted COVID-19.

According to Politico, that’s exactly what clinical researchers are attempting to create.

The process started with Apple and Fitbit using their respective wearables to attempt to detect COVID-19 symptoms in wearers. This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company got involved with public health in this context; earlier this year, for example, Apple announced a new Watch feature that would call 911 if it detected an abnormal fall. The NBA also attempted to detect outbreaks in players by providing them with Oura Rings–another smart wearable.

While these attempts have yet to achieve widespread success, optimism toward smart clothing–especially things like undershirts–and its ability to report adequately someone’s symptoms, remains high.

The smart clothing industry has existed in the context of monitoring health for quite some time. The aforementioned tech giants have made no secret of integrating health- and wellness-centric features into their devices, and companies like Nanowear have even gone so far as to create undergarments that track things like the wearer’s heart rate.

It’s only fitting that these companies would transition to COVID assessment, containment, and prevention in the shadow of the pandemic, though they aren’t the only ones doing so. Indeed, innovators from all corners of the United States are set to participate in a “rapid testing solutions” competition–the end goal being a cheap, fast, easy-to-use wearable option to help flatten the curve. The “cheap” aspect is perhaps the most difficult; as Politico says, the majority of people have a general understanding of how to use wearable technology.

Perhaps more importantly, the potential for HIPPA violations via data access is high–and, during a period of time in which people are more suspicious of technology companies than ever, vis-a-vis data sharing, privacy could be a significant barrier to the creation, distribution, and use of otherwise crucial smart clothing.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated, among other things, technological advancement in ways unseen by many of us alive today. Only time will tell if smart clothing–life-saving potential and all–becomes part of that trend.

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