I would think they don't sell their database because they would rather have people visit their site. I would think that a large majority of the visitors to Yahoo do not use it for the search directory but for other things such as email and news. If they were to sell their database to someone else, it would dilute the importance of Yahoo and they would get fewer page views and less ad revenue. Someone like Looksmart generates only a fraction of traffic to their portal compared to Yahoo and would make less money off advertising and shopping features so they need other revenue streams. Just my thoughts on the subject.
Yahoo doesn't *have* to sell their database. They are the most used directory of them all, so they can pretty much do what they want. And they know that.
I wouldn't be surprised if Yahoo would start doing something like that. With the rumor mill having Yahoo buying more sites, selling out to Viacom, nuking the management, I think one thing is for certain: there are changes ahead for Yahoo pretty quick.
The biggest change on the way is the possibility of user-charges for Yahoo! Since advertising revenues took a dump, the most common fix I've heard for Yahoo!'s woes is to start charging their users a monthly or annual fee. Unfortunatly I don't have a reference to this on-hand, but I have seen 3 or 4 articles on this subject. (I heard a rumor Alta Vista wanted to do this as well, but haven't seen anything in print about it yet)
Maybe someone more resourceful than me can back me up on this...
I honestly think what will end up happening is Yahoo! will go 100% paid submissions shortly. That means no more free submissions, and lots of new revenue for them... It makes more sense with the rest of the search engine world travelling down that path, although you never know with Yahoo!... I think with the detrimental effect charging users would bring, submission charges are more likely... But don't quote me on that...
"Yahoo! will go 100% paid submissions shortly." - Alternatively/additionally they may try asking for a yearly fee...(?) That should bring them much more money than just the submission fee, though I can see how a yearly fee would also pose many new problems (many site owners not happy with their current category/title/description will not want to pay the yearly fee -> the Yahoo directory will be seriously diluted).
>Maybe someone more resourceful than me can back me up on this...
It was published awhile back at CNet [news.cnet.com]
I think Brett's speculation sounds very reasonable. I'd be surprised if YAHOO! continues to stand alone for a whole lot longer. It would seem, to continue any kind of growth that the street will reward with a decent valuation, they'll have to find a way to keep revenues (profits) growing rapidly, which may be tough w/o touching off a revolt of their users. If the stock drops low enough, YAHOO! would be a gem of a candidate for any larger media company to take over. Isn't Viacom part of the AOL/TWX monster now? If so, as if AOL/TWX ins't too big already, to be able to snag YAHOO! would definately be too much.
AOL has too many ties to the OPD.... they'd never be able to get it past the regulators...
Of course ABC just closed Go.com.....
Hint Hint Mr. Eisner....
AOL/TWX got by the regulators. IMHO, somebody was smokin' somethin' funny to let that one slip by. Heck, there is Looksmart, HotRate, Zeal, and all the rest of em' will keep it an open competitive marketplace. AOL/TWX could probably convice regulators of that as well.
YAHOO! very well might be a nice fit in the Disney portfolio. Then we'd find out if they (Disney) don't know how to start sucessful web companies, or if keeping one running is the problem.