I’m writing this because as a long time and continuing Yahoo user I think there is still time to change things. It’s going to take time, effort and changes but hopefully they put forth all three.
Firstly, looking at the mobile front Yahoo is sorely lacking. As far as I’m concerned they only have two mobile apps Flickr and Tumblr. Which are both not even close to what they should be in terms of quality and popularity. Flickr offers new users 1TB of storage for photos and videos. This is un-real when you consider that the proliferation of smartphones means pictures are increasing at an exponential rate. All the other offers for online storage from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc. pale in comparison to Flickr’s 1TB. The problem is most people are not aware of this. Yahoo needs to really get the word out to users, in TV ads, or some kind of media campaign. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had someone tell me that all their photos were lost because an external drive died. Yes I’m looking at you guys too, pro photographers. If you ask me doing away with the paid pro account was a mistake. What they should have done was split the service into two prongs. Offer the 1TB to free accounts and then up the storage to 2TB for paying pro accounts. Along with offering other pro level features. Also make two seperate mobile apps, Flickr and Flickr Pro. The Flickr app would be aimed at the everyday user. It would be fun and a social network type app like Instagram and Snapchat. Make it easy to get pictures tagged with hashtags, offer filters and novelty filters like the ones available in Snapchat. I’ve had a Flickr account for years. I’ve had the app on my iPhone for years and yet I can’t remember when the last time was that I opened it. In contrast I use Instagram at the very least once a day. A more social app would increase Flickr’s exposure and use to the younger generation. While Flickr Pro would remain aimed at the Pro photographers who also want to get social and showcase their work but don’t need filters and other novelties. The paid account would generate revenue while the free account would generate buzz and user engagement.
Tumblr is like a blogging platform but I haven’t used my Tumblr account in quite awhile. Free offerings like WordPress, Wix and others. Along with paid services like Squarespace offer a lot more to the blogger. I tried using Tumblr but just couldn’t get traffic while on WordPress I’m getting pretty steady traffic to my site. Perhaps I’m not the typical Tumblr user but I hardly ever used the mobile app because it was so much more limited than what was available in the browser version. Tumblr also definitely needs to have an adult restricted section. What consenting adults do is not a problem as long as it’s legal. So create an Adult restricted section and have users in the section pay a subscription. There is a reason they say sex is the oldest profession. I’m almost sure most if not all users with mature Tumblr pages would pay a subscription to have more services and not have to worry about the page disappearing after complaints. Then turn attention to Tumblr and update it to offer what is being offered by the other blogging/site platforms. The way I see it Tumblr seems to want to be Twitter and/or a website/blog at the same time. I would say drop the small, quick post capability or break it off into a seperate app/site.
In order to increase their mobile presence look at the currently available messengers. There’s Snapchat, KIK, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Apple’s iMessage and Android’s text messaging application. They all have great features and crappy downsides. Look at the downsides and create an app that incorporates all the great features and none of the downsides. I’m thinking of a Yahoo Messenger which works like iMessage. It will send messages between devices over wifi but defaults to text messages when wifi is not available. Include the Yahoo emojis that older users will get nostalgic about and younger users will discover. Give users the ability to choose whether to send a Yahoo message or a text message. As an example the user would tap and hold the send button which would then change from purple(Yahoo message) to red, greeen, blue or whatever color signifies text message. The most important part is to make it available for iOS and Android to begin. Then roll out a Windows Phone version ASAP. Price the app at 99 cents, sure some people will resist at first because of price. In time I think they will eventually get it when they see that it has all the great features with none of the downsides of other messengers. So why price it at free and leave that money on the table? The messaging space is huge and with a great app it would again build buzz, introduce Yahoo to a younger audience and give them a piece of the messaging pie.
This one is a little harder. Users have digital assistant’s like Siri and Google Now. It cuts down on the need to head to a site for search. While things like Sports, Celebrity gossip, News, Stocks, etc. are available on social networks and third party apps. Even then the Yahoo homepage has issues. I have clicked on links that weren’t found, videos that wouldn’t play, and stories with missing information, or egregious spelling mistakes. When there are other sites with the same information users will just move on if they have trouble getting to something. I also use Yahoo Finance and even tried to use the iOS app except the app didn’t give me the same information I get from the site. So the webpages definitely need some attention and the mobile apps need to be made to give users the same information they can get on the site more easily in their palms.
One of the great things about Apple that I still haven’t seen implimented by other companies is a way to provide feedback. Apple has a site where users can choose any of the devices, computers, software or services Apple offers and leave feedback. Steve Jobs as well as Tim Cook have made their email addresses public. I have emailed Apple executives like Phil Schiller as well as Tim Cook with feedback. The best part is I have received responses and even when I don’t receive a direct response from the executive. I’ve received an email or phone call in response to my email. As a customer that makes me feel valued, heard and more excited to leave more ideas and feedback. Obviously as a public figure there has to be a process in place to sort through all the feedback. It wont all be positive or useful. However dedicated users out there will give great ideas and great feedback to help a company they love. They just need a way to do it and some type of response that makes them feel like it isn’t piling up in some auto-response mailbox somewhere.
I also had the same high hopes for Blackberry when their woes began. It’s been a couple years and those hopes are almost dashed now. I hope the same will not happen with Yahoo but only time will tell.