Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Meets the Press

Well, that’s what I thought was going to happen Thursday. Yahoo invited an A list of media to a press briefing on its strategy. I was told by Yahoo’s PR firm that embattled CEO Jerry Yang would be there along with other Yahoo execs. But Jerry was a no show.

Gillian Nash, a Yahoo senior VP and corporate communications officer, told me the plan was for Jerry to duck out of a Cisco board meeting (he’s on the board) to briefly mingle with the assembled press, but the board meeting ran long and that plan was scrapped.

Yahoo president Sue Decker was grilled by an investor at the recent [Yahoo shareholders meeting ](/bus-news/article.php/3762926)who demanded she justify being a board member of Berkshire Hathaway, Intel and Costco. Other Yahoo execs came to Decker’s defense, noting the time spent on those board meetings, learning how other big companies are dealing with growth issues and other challenges, is useful to Yahoo.

Now Yang’s soaking in what Cisco has to offer. Question, does Yahoo have time for all this learning?

**[Meanwhile, back at Yahoo’s HQ yesterday](/webcontent/article.php/3771106/Yahoo+Goes+on+an+Open+Offensive.htm)**, Hilary Schneider said she wanted to address the “confusion out there” about Yahoo’s advertising deal with Google, which has come [under regulatory scrutiny](/government/article.php/3770376). The alliance will let Google serve a portion of the ads that appear on Yahoo’s search results pages. Critics charge that an alliance of the two largest players would turn the search-advertising market into a monopoly, driving up prices and diminishing competition.

In a brief demo, Schneider, a Yahoo advertising executive vice president, showed two screens of search results for “Red Roses in Birmingham, Alabama.” The Yahoo page had no right column advertisers, while the Google page had a list of 11 advertisers on the right column.

“By providing more advertisers, we think it’s a better consumer experience that we know is relevant because of the search terms,” she said. “By enabling Google to have access to the query term, it’s a better return on investment for the advertiser and, we think, a better consumer experience.”

But the demo left search expert Danny Sullivan of [Search Engine Land ]( his head. “Almost all those advertisers are on Yahoo already,” he told me. “If they’re not showing up in the query results, Yahoo must have not have the same broad matching as Google.”

Of course there’s no confusion about the very real bottom line benefit Yahoo expects to get from deal, [some $250 million to $450 million in operating cash flow ](/ec-news/article.php/3753736/Google+Ad+Deal+Free+Money+for+Yahoo.htm)in the first year, which analyst’s have called “free money” for the Web giant.

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