Carol Bartz Says Yahoo 'F-ed Me Over'

Of course, her public use of profanity was one of the reasons she was canned

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Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz made some mistakes, for sure. And it didn't hurt that people didn't like her or her potty mouth, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. "Ms. Bartz made other mistakes--some very publicly. During her first year at Yahoo, fellow directors spent time discouraging what they saw as Ms. Bartz's abrasive CEO style, including her frequent use of swear words, said people familiar with the matter." In fact, Bartz doesn't even think she deserved the canning.  "These people fucked me over," she told Fortune. "They want revenue growth," continued Bartz, "even though they were told that we would not have revenue growth until 2012." And let's face it, Bartz is somewhat justified: Yahoo has issues way beyond the management problems of its irreverent leader.

  • Too much content not enough adds. "As Web traffic explodes, Internet companies are struggling to profit off ads shown next to the articles, videos and other content offered to viewers." explain the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro and Emily Steele. "WSJ Yahoo and AOL's shares of the overall U.S. online advertising market will drop to 11% and 2.7% in 2011, respectively, according to the research from, down from 16.1% and 4.4% in 2009."
  • All that content isn't all that valuable. "Just because you have a lot doesn't mean that you have something that is of distinct value, Rob Norman, chief executive of WPP PLC's GroupM North America told Steel and Vascellaro. 
  • Hello competition. "Internet pioneers Yahoo and AOL Inc. are losing out to Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., both of which are adept at helping point the way to pertinent or interesting material," continue Steel and Vascellaro. "But advertisers now can turn to a wide range of competitors to reach a similar number of people, and that has pushed down the amount of money they spend on those sites and the price for ad rates on the portals."
  • Yahoo doesn't get the future of the Web. Bartz focused on developing online media and original reporting, but neglected the Internet frontier argues The New York Times's Claire Cain Miller. "As the rest of the Internet moved on to social networks and mobile devices, Yahoo has failed to keep up." The company also hasn't recognized the changing ways people consume media, continues Miller. "They failed to follow Internet users and advertisers to cellphone screens and social networks."
  • It's all about letting people in on the fun of creation. “Yahoo hangs on to the pieces that made it a giant years ago," Shar VanBoskirk, a digital marketing analyst at Forrester Research told Miller. "It assumes people will come to its Web site, and what users are looking for now is a much more syndicated experience that allows them to go to mobile devices and co-create content."
  • Yahoo feels old. Advertisers are drawn to innovation. "What advertisers want is an innovator, a partner that is going to help them know the next best place to reach their customers,"  VanBoskirk of Forrester continues. "Yahoo’s problem is they look like a legacy player that’s not thinking about the next thing."   

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.