And it's about time.

What, you think that just because I work there I can't point out when we were on the wrong track? Ha!

Had I been writing a weblog back in 2000, during the disaster formerly known as "Yahoo Finance Vision" (the expensive and ultimately failed on-line streaming Finance news broadcast experiment) you wouldn't have been able to shut me up about what a massive waste of money I thought it was.

The thing really was a freaking money pit.

However, I'd like to think that we've learned a lesson or two from that and the many other services that Terry Semel helped axe when it was time to make cuts and he was still "the new guy" on the executive team.

The lesson?

If you're offering a service that customers don't want and it's costing you money, you're probably on the wrong track. Give it up.

Now it may just be that your service really sucks, but if that's the case you'd see demand for an improved version rather than a lack of substantial interest.

I think that Finance Vision stuck around as long as it did because some folks thought it was just "ahead of its time" so we simply needed to wait for the rest of the world to catch up with us--or something like that.

The good news is that in this case, Corporate Messenger was conceived, deployed, and killed in a much shorter timeframe. At least I assume it was. For all I know it was conceived back in 1998 and it took a long time before the Powers That Be decided to build it.

In other words, this announcement is good news. It doesn't mean "Yahoo screwed up again." It means that we're still willing to make a gamble here and there but we're also smart enough to realize when they're simply not paying off and not likely to be worth it in the long run. Maybe that's the Semel influence?

I just hope that the folks who worked on it are now on other projects inside the company.

See Also:

Posted by jzawodn at June 21, 2004 07:41 AM

Reader Comments
# Josh Woodward said:

Hah.. thanks for reminding me of Y! FinanceVision. I needed my Monday morning chuckle.

on June 21, 2004 08:04 AM
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

Bang on J. Enterprise messenging is a snapin for every major groupware / email platform these days, including Notes. And, for most of these, it's free.

At some point, 'extending' YIM into Enterprise would have made sense. But, now that it's integrated into every enterprise email / groupware app sold, there just isn't a market.

Good move Yahoo.

on June 21, 2004 08:05 AM
# Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

It's amusing that you have to add a disclaimer that "it doesn't represent failure!" to solid business sense nowadays. I think that's something that crept up on (and then exploded onto) us in the last maybe 15 years (the explosion being during dot-com era, obviously). One day people will rediscover the fact that success can't be measured by last quarter's bottom line alone.

on June 21, 2004 12:28 PM
# Henry said:

Maybe not last quarter's bottom line, but projects have to have a payoff date. Too many execs and marketing weenies believe their own hype about visionary products and forget to put a ruthless payback timeline on it. We have a line of business that has lost money for over five years with no sign of relief. At least Yahoo has better business sense than we do. Great news for its shareholders!

on June 22, 2004 09:11 PM
# Alex Moskalyuk said:

Financial feasibility aside, I liked FinanceVision. I was one of those people who have never paid for premium cable packages featuring CNBC and Bloomberg, since I simply do not have time to watch them. FinanceVision was interesting, had a lot of tech-related stuff and produced original content, what's more to ask? I was sorry to see it go, but I'd imagine those cameramen and anchors cost a bundle.

I think Semel would have had a better luck pushing full-blown video ads right now than back in good ole 2001. New MSN Video site shows that the money is out there.

on June 23, 2004 04:22 PM
# John Beimler said:

And even more clever than AOL, they piss off all sorts of power users by blocking their IM clients again, even the free software.

Sure makes me want to use the yahoo properties. Perhaps the sites can be made IE only with some clever browser sniffing as well, that would really make me want to Yahoo!

on June 24, 2004 06:42 PM
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