comScore Data Helps Yahoo! Holders (YHOO)

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Yahoo! (YHOO-NASDAQ) shares are up 2% at $32.80 this morning because independent comScore has released the results of a study on Project Panama.  comScore analyzed the changes in Yahoo!’s (YHOO-NASDAQ) click-through rates for sponsored search ads since the official U.S. launch of its new ranking model on February 5, 2007, which is the second phase of Yahoo’s Project Panama.  The study is based on the online behavior of comScore’s U.S. sample of 1 million Internet users.  comScore’s data show that the recent introduction of Yahoo!’s new search marketing ranking model is already having a positive impact on the click-through rates for Yahoo’s search advertising. 

Yahoo! Sites experienced a noticeable lift in its sponsored search click-through rate.  The week ending February 11 saw a 5-percent increase, while the week ending February 18 showed a 9-percent jump.  qSearch data show positive gains in this area, with sponsored clicks representing 10.6 percent and 11.1 percent of total click volume in the weeks ending February 11 and February 18, which represent increases of 0.5 and 1.0 points in the weeks following the new ranking model launch.  Unfortunately this data is still in a vacuum and has not been tallied up on a comparable basis to Google (GOOG-NASDAQ) or Microsoft (MSFT-NASDAQ) search results.

An outside comment from the press release: "While still in its early stages, any good news for Panama is good news for Yahoo! – and this early study shows plenty of good news,” added John Battelle, chairman and publisher of Federated Media and noted author.

Yahoo! (YHOO) shares are now up roughly $10.00 from the $22.65 lows of 2006, which is very close to a 50% gain from the lows.  The yearly high is $34.09 and the highs in January 2006 was north of $40.00.  Much of this turnaround is from Panama hopes, but Wall Street would still like to see Semel leave the company.  He is still listed as one of our CEO’s that need to go.  Now the question is if he has saved his own neck or if the company would still be served better with a different corporate leader.  Some CEO’s can actually recover after their fall from grace on Wall Street if they follow advice and take recovery measures, so we’ll see how he is treated by Wall Street after this next quarter.

Jon C. Ogg
February 26, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.