Jerry Yang Opens Up About Google Deal, Keeping Yahoo Independent

Jerry Yang has opened up about the non-exclusive search advertising deal with Google with a post over at the Yahoo! Anecdotal blog.

Yang started off by writing, “It’s no longer a rumor.” Considering Yahoo! issued a press release regarding a test of Adsense last April, I’m not sure rumor is the right word here, but let’s move on.

Yang justified the deal by saying the move is part of Yahoo!’s open strategy:

WebMD sells their audiences on Yahoo!, Yelp can customize how their local search results appear using Search Monkey, advertisers and publishers will buy and sell in an open marketplace with our upcoming AMP! from Yahoo!, and we’re now opening our paid search results to Google.”

Then, Yang offered assurance that Yahoo! wasn’t exiting the paid search biz, but is instead positioning themselves better within the marketplace:

“As search and display continue their convergence, it puts Yahoo! in a better position to innovate and compete aggressively with Google and others for ad dollars.”

One sentence stood out above all the rest.

“An independent search business is critical to our future.”

Shareholders could grab onto that statement as a sign that Yang was never interested in selling to Microsoft, something Carl Icahn has been saying as part of his proxy board campaign.

Google also wants an independent Yahoo, per statements by CEO Eric Schmidt earlier this week. Though, we would assume that’s for different reasons.

Of course, in order to make money from this deal, Yahoo needs to get eyeballs to their site and searches need to be conducted. But their numbers are falling in U.S. search queries, so they’re going to have to do a lot more than a Google deal to save themselves.

Yang seems to understand this, “It is, of course, just one step. We’ll continue to look at all of our alternatives to advance our strategies and enhance growth and profitability.” But he doesn’t have much time to prove himself before the August 1 shareholder meeting.

What do you think about Yang’s statements? Is comparing Google to WebMd and Yelp like comparing apples and oranges? Did his blog help or hurt him with shareholders? Sound off in the comments.

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