Yahoo! Finance (YHOO) Loses It Focus

December 6, 2007 by Douglas A. McIntyre

The most visited website at the 24/7 Wall St. New York news desk is Yahoo! Finance. We actually pay to use Yahoo! (YHOO) real time quotes. Based on syndicated research, Yahoo Finance! is the most visited financial website in the US

Yahoo! Finance announced that it would start a new video show that will run at its website starting next month. They found some good hosts including blogger Paul Kedrosky.

Odd as it may seem, within a few days of the news about the new video show, Yahoo! Finance started to run links to its video section on all of its quote pages. The current TV content comes from Fox Business, TheStreet.com, Minyanville, and a few other places.

But, promoting the new video products seems to have gotten in the way of company news which would normally go hand-in-hand with stock quotes. For years, if a user put LVLT into the Yahoo! Finance quote box, the news section on that quote page would have articles about Level 3 from The Associated Press, The Motley Fool, CNN Money, Forbes, and other sources. Now the first links are to videos. The problem is that the videos have nothing to do with most of the stocks being looked up!

24/7 Wall St. checked dozens of quote pages. Put in AKAM. The first four news links are to videos which have nothing to do with Akamai. They are from Fox, TheStreet, BBC, and ABC. How about MO? If you want news about Altria, you have to sort through five headlines, four of them are the same videos found under the Akamai news section. ANSW. The first four stories listed under Answer Corp are the same video clips that we found on almost every other quote page at Yahoo! Finance.

This is a fairly malicious perversion of the process of delivering news to people. The headlines for each company are supposed to to be about the company.  Every other major financial website does it that way and for years Yahoo! Finance did, too.

Is Yahoo! being paid for this, or are they priming the pump to get audience for the online financial TV channel that comes online in January? There’s no way to tell.

The companies who are legitimate news parters with Yahoo! Finance are probably putting in calls to Yahoo! president Sue Decker to find out why they are bring pushed off the bottom of the quote pages by unrelated content. If they are paying for their news to be there, they are getting robbed.

The whole business smells a bit. There are other ways to promote the new video products. Twisting the user experience and suckering people by putting a "Top 5 Large-Cap Stocks" video on each quote page just makes investors think it is about a company that they are looking up. Play the video. The content is about something else

Looking out the window at the front of The New York Stock Exchange, there are traders burning the Yahoo! Finance logo in effigy.

Come back to us Yahoo! Finance. Before it’s too late.

Douglas A. McIntyre