Why Isn’t Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s New CEO, on Flickr?
I just got done listening to Yahoo’s quarterly analyst conference call. Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s new CEO, gave a rundown on what we should expect in the quarter ahead and took her first round of questions from Wall Street analysts. There will of course be plenty of financial analysis on the web about both their quarterly performance and her first analyst call as CEO, so I’m not going to get into much of that here except to say that I did think it was interesting that she mentioned “micro blogging” at one point in the call and that makes me wonder if Yahoo might be interested in buying Twitter or FriendFeed.
One of the things that I was struck by on today’s call though is that my favorite Yahoo property Flickr was not mentioned a single time, not once, nada, nilch, it’s like they didn’t even exist. Many of Yahoo’s other properties were mentioned of course, Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, etc. — she even mentioned Buzz. But the word Flickr was not uttered a single time on the entire call.
Analysts asked questions about Facebook and myspace and Bartz even mentioned at one point that one of her daughters wasn’t as interested in posting pictures to Facebook any more as she was now more interested in reading Yahoo Finance etc. Posting photos on Facebook? Why not Flickr? There were many points in the call that it would have been appropriate for Bartz to mention Flickr, but she didn’t. Which to me was a bit disappointing. Especially given that Alexa rates Flickr as the 23rd most visited English internet site in the world. Certainly well ahead of almost every other property that Yahoo owns.
But then I got to thinking more. Maybe Bartz just doesn’t know about Flickr. Maybe she’s just not familiar with it. So I did a search for her on Flickr to see if I could find an account for her to add her as a friend, maybe she just needs me as her friend on Flickr. The closest thing I could come up with on Flickr for Bartz was this account. Unfortunately, if this account (screenshot above) is actually Carol’s account, well, then it’s no wonder she’s not familiar with Flickr, she doesn’t seem to use the account at all. The account has no avatar, is sharing no public photos, has no testimonials, has no contacts — heck, the account isn’t even a paid Pro account.
Now there is a chance of course that this account is not Carol’s. That it belongs to some other Carol Bartz and that she has some other sort of handle on flickr like hotmama28787, but then again maybe not.
Now I’m not suggesting that every CEO needs to “dogfood” their own company products. But as one of the most trafficked and highest profile Yahoo property, I certainly think it makes some amount of sense for her to use Flickr, or at least to have a halfway presentable account on the site. Everybody has photos right? Even if she didn’t want to share photos of her kids or her dog or things like that, she could at least share a few photos that she’s snapped of flowers or sunsets, no?
On the analyst call she talked a bit about how Yahoo’s traffic had spiked during the inauguration. What a great opportunity for her to have plugged Flickr and mention that some of the best photos of the entire event came from Flickr, Yahoo’s users. Instead she didn’t, and I think that’s too bad.
By the way, one thing that Bartz did say over and over again on today’s earnings call was that she hoped to make Yahoo successful by having a “maniacal focus on our users and their experience.” She used the words maniacal many times and it seemed to be a focus of hers. In the spirit of this maniacal focus on my own experience, I’d like to offer my own comment as a very heavy user of one of Yahoo’s top properties, Flickr (which I hope she and her daughters join and are active on the future).
Carol, if you want to focus on *my* user experience on Flickr, the best thing that you could do is to have Flickr stop censoring my images. Oh, and it would be nice if Yahoo would agree to notify users if their photos on Flickr are censored in the future. That’s all for now. Carry on with the new job as CEO and dropkicking friggin’ ass.