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COPENHAGEN (AFP) - The US Internet portal giant Yahoo! will pull out of Scandinavia at the end of the month, closing its Nordic branch in Copenhagen which covers Norway and Sweden in addition to Denmark, a company employee said.
The Danish branch posted a loss of 21 million kroner (3.6 million dollars, 2.8 million euros) -- double its loss the year before.
That has to be a very worrying sign for Yahoo. They shouldn't be increasing their losses at this stage of their life cycle anywhere on the planet.
My question: Who has stolen Yahoo's market share in Scandinavia? Or was that section simply not run well?
I can only speak for Denmark - it wasn't really there, as they had a local clone there before the real Yhoo ever left the stanford.edu domain (was it Stanford? it's so long ago now..). There's a Danish company by the name of Jubii (essentially "Yahoo" in Danish - it started out as a Danish version of Yahoo) that's quite big.
MSN is quite large too, and the two largest TV stations as well as the largest telco are quite dominant as well (they run several sites).
Weekly traffic figures can be seen here (Yhoo #5):
Jubii pulled out of these measurements before MSN entered, but these old figures show that Jubii was about the same size as MSN a year ago: [fdim.dk...]
Considering the percentage of people online in Scandinavia (some of the highest in the world) this may also be an indicator for the future of other local Yahoos.
I seem to remember that already when Yahoo first came to Denmark at least one Danish web analyst (Steven Snedker) wrote that they were too late and were doing nothing that was not already being done by Jubii.
I for one will miss them. I regard their web directory as clearly the best on any of the large Danish portals and I as a webmaster always was treated extremely well by their editors.
But I think it IS important that Yahoo and Google both make good commercial decisions right now, because the sleeping bear of Microsoft is about to awake and do a Netscape on the whole seen. That would could be devastating if they aren't ready.
The strength of msn.dk is to a very large extent built on the strength of Internet Explorer which in turn is built on the strength of Windows. And an OS like Windows has a much stronger hold on people than a portal, a web directory or a search engine.
And msn.dk in its turn strengthens Internet Explorer and Windows. If msn.dk need money there will be good sense for Microsoft in sending them that money.
The strength of Google in Scandinavia and elsewhere is built on something very different: It is VERY easy to leave an inferior search engine and start using a superior one. This fact was what gave Google their almost incredible rise. But now that they have grown big it is also their great weakness. They can lose their users very easily and quickly.
Yahoo are somewhere between those two. They do not like Microsoft have an OS that people have paid for and therefore keep and use. And they do not have the flexibility of Google. Their seach engines might of course have it but not their portals.
There is nothing special in creating a collection of links and letting it grow into a bloated portal. Anybody could do that. Many HAVE done that. To have succes with such a model it is very important to be the first to grow big in your market. Yahoo did that in the USA. In Scandinavia they were too late.
It's yahoo.com for Scandianvian users in the future.
Exciting to see if this a sign that the Yahoo! Directory might be history - not only here, but worldwide?
While Jubii does not currently participate in the official Internet measurement they still publish their own traffic figures measured using the same method (cookie-based).
For Week 3 - 2004 the sum of Unique Visitors were:
#1) MSN.dk: 916.838
#2) Jubii.dk: 879.346
#3) Krak.dk: 728.537 (Map and street information)
#4) DR.dk: 681.194 (Largest public service TV-station)
#5) TV2.dk: 502.931 (Largest commercial TV station)
#6) Yahoo.dk: 462.822
This is for individual web sites (defined by Look&Feel), not companies - the largest telco and ISP (TDC, US owned) is a solid #1 when measured across all websites on a company basis. Second is Microsoft, and third is Jubii.
Measured on company basis and not web site basis, Yahoo is currently #10 and Mikkel is right that Eniro is bigger as well (they run two fairly large portals, the biggest being just below Yahoo in the site-centric figures).
In Norway and Sweden MSN is also currently #1...
Many portals and search engines (like Google) do not participate in the official Internet measurement which is performed by TNS Gallup (cookie-based). This means that the figures that you find in the Norwegian Weekly Traffic Figures [tns-gallup.no] are uncorrect.
MSN is currently NOT #1 in Norway, because Google does not participate in theese measurements. ;)
Just beacause the stats are based on cookies does not mean they are the same - there are many other factors that have a huge impact on what is reported.
The Jubii.dk thing... well, i personally debated a lot with Jubii representatives over the new rules and i don't want to repeat the debate here. I am very confident that the figures are not uncomparable; although Jubii often have had a loud voice and sometimes have appeared as provocative towards the whole industry, i definitely don't suspect them to be cheating on the figures.
For those that haven't followed the debate, i should add that the primary concern of Jubii was that the MSN-branded Search pages (the browser default search for those that haven't switched to Google yet) is included in the MSN figures - this is probably an important ingredient in the size of MSN.dk, but it does not influence the size of Jubii.dk.
1) There are no "official" stats for dk. Gallup is not by any law, agreement between all sites, or in any other way any more "official" than any other stats thatmight be available.
2) Data for stats that are collected under different terms and conditions are NOT comparable. Off course not. I think most people working with statistics will agree on that :)
If you know exactly what the difference in data between one source and another is you could theoretically argue that it is possible to use that in your calculations and end up with acceptable results. However, I haven't yet seen anyone that makes local visitor reporting based on a weighted index across several different (web) data sets ...
The stats i referred to are the official Danish stats, as agreed by the Association of Danish Internet Media (FDIM). Although they might not have the same industry body yet in Norway and Sweden, a similar method is still used - there are minor differences and i'll be happy to elaborate on every single detail right down to the frequency of self-refreshing pageviews allowed, but it's both outside the scope and the topic of this thread.
It is not "Gallup" stats. Gallup is the subcontractor performing the measurement - it's a subcontractor, it's not the publisher. The publisher, and the body responsible for the rules (ie. what to measure, and how) is the Association of Danish Internet Media (FDIM) and not Gallup. There is but one significant Danish internet company that is (temporarily, i hope) absent from this industry statistic. This company is a member of the FDIM as can be seen from the members list [fdim.dk] and i have no reason whatsoever to believe that they are cheating.
I'll have no more to say about this here, sorry for drifting off topic. The topic was Yahoo and their relative position, and the figures i quoted did show that their position was not as dominant as might be desired. Still, they were operating large sites. I guess the market is such that it's still hard to make decent money for large "broad" portals. AFAIK, they had PFI and advertising - i'm not sure if they had premium services or subscriptions, they had no broadband or things like that.
>But there are just not so many people
Good point, however I agreed that Yahoo is not a major player, but on most sites we average at least 8-10% of total SE traffic, which ads up to a significant number of monthly visitors. Futhermore my gut feelings is that the Yahoo user base is (was) somewhat loyal and tend to convert better than some of the rouge traffic from other SE's.
I for one is very sad to see them go and have a hard time understanding that it was not profitable to run the directory. We have good insight into how much the express submission service generated in sales for them and it should be enough to cover at least a few paid editors.
Guess it was the other service areas that put them in the red.
I've worked very close with the nice folks at Yahoo for a long time and my opinions may be a bit biased ;)
Anyway, the fact remain that there have not been one single directory ever (to my knowladge) that have made a good profitable business in Denmark - and possible all of Scandinavia. Jubii are doing ok, and LookSmart was (at one point) doing ok too - but never more than "ok".
When I was managing the search engine and directory at Kvasir we did a lot of analysis of the business of running a directory and no matter what business models and scenarios we analysed we could just not show the kind of profits the investors wanted. I think most people forget all the hidden costs. Even at $299 there was just no way we could make it profitable enough - on a local level.
The problem for local directories are that in the long run the value it produces for advertisers are not as high as the cost of producing and maintaining the directory. The product cost more to produce than what it's worth to the market.
AFAIK it is true that open source (and Macintosh for that matter) traditionally has a stronger position in Scandinavia than in many other places. But this does not change the fact that those people are a small minority also here.
As elsewhere MSN are helped by the simple fact that Internet Explorer makes it very easy to find MSN. Yahoo never had any advantage like that.
a company that likes to preserve its logo as a symbol of "Internet history's fathers"
I think that is an interesting observation that should shock Yahoo Marketers - that in Eastern Europe Yahoo's image is actually seen as old and fuddy-duddy.
How large the world still is, how varied its people and its views. Long may this remain in a world that business tries so hard to homogenize.