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Nothing much exciting came out of the Yahoo (YHOO) earnings conference call yesterday. The street seemed to like what they heard though and the stock was up almost 6% after hours.

From the Yahoo! Q4 2006 Earnings Call Transcript - SeekingAlpha:

Together, Yahoo! Answers. Flickr, del.icio.us, and Yahoo! Video have surpassed 100 million monthly users, continuing our position as a leading force in social media. Interestingly enough within this group, 50% of our users are under the age of 35. To put that into perspective, it puts us ahead of properties such as MySpace and Facebook in this attractive demographic.

The conference call was mostly just about their advertising initiatives, which is to be expected, although at least last quarter they titillated us by actually giving us the 20 million monthly uniques number for Flickr. This quarter, of course, former COO Dan Rosenweig is out, so they gave us a more tight lipped number by combining Flickr, Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Video and delicious to provide a 100 million monthly unique number. A breakdown would have been nicer but I guess without old Dan R. around anymore, the best we can hope for is a compilation. Sigh.
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Yahoo basically pumped three main themes on today's call.

1. They want to improve search monetization.
2. The want to widen their lead in graphical advertising.

and

3. To "seize" the opportunity in social media, video and mobile.

What I didn't hear today that I think is important is to improve their relevancy in search. Although this may be an underpinning beneath their social media agenda, it would have been nicer to actually hear them articulate that they want to improve their relevancy in search.

Another thing that wasn't mentioned today, that was mentioned by Dan R. on last quarters call, is the continued monetization of their social networks.

The more interesting conversation about Yahoo today for me wasn't their earnings call transcript or the advertising-obsessed analysts who follow the stock, but rather another little interview that took place over on CNN earlier today by Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield.

In this interview Butterfield, for the first time in print, articulated the fact that Flickr plans on aggressively monetizing the massive image library that is being built up at Flickr.

Today's CNN interview was largely a trial balloon sent out to the Flickr community to see how they would react to the idea and after it was posted in Flickr Central, one of the key groups that Flickr uses to communicate with their users, it quietly received a generally positive response from the Flickr hardcore elite.

From the interview:

The third component is more along the lines of a marketplace. So if you are a Flickr user in Korea you could have the choice of three companies that are competing on price for the cheapest prints and several companies that are doing stuff on CD. But also to help the users make money - that's something we haven't actually started yet but we've spent a long time thinking about it. Everyday we see people buying photos from Flickr users and it's a very complicated and difficult and frustrating process for both sides. It's something we'll be looking at more closely and probably doing some stuff in the next year.

None of *this* was mentioned in the earnings call today but could potentially have far more impact than people realize. The stock photography business is a billion dollar business and a business that Yahoo *must* be looking at. Getty (GYI), Corbis and the rest of the stock agencies would do well to keep an eye on what Flickr is up to here because Flickr today holds the largest best organized collection of photographs that exists in the world.

While Yahoo loses ground in search due to their inability to execute on social search, finding alternative ways to monetize their social networks will be significant.

Disclosure: I am CEO of Zooomr and for the last four months we have also been developing a marketplace for photos.

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Source: Yawning over Yahoo!'s Earnings Call