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Yahoo Pays $30 Million to Sit at the Cool Table
By: Aprel Phelps Downey
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Everyone wanted to sit at the cool table in high school. A large majority of this table consisted of jocks, cheerleaders, and other popular icons that filled the hallways. Sitting here meant one had achieved the ultimate high school social status ranking. Those not invited to sit at the coveted table waited and watched quietly for a golden opportunity seat to open up. The social media world operates on the same premise.

Social medial powerhouses Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter remain firmly planted at the cool table. Somewhere off in the distance, Yahoo quietly waits anxiously for their opportunity to join this prestigious group.

Yahoo is off to a good start with its recent acquisition of a mobile app news summary company. Summly started five months ago under the direction of Nick D’Alosio, a 17-year-old British guy looking for an easier way to read his daily news. Summly scans the Internet for daily news items and presents this information in a 400-character format. Highlights are provided in a few sentences that are shorter than a typical tweet yet not as long as a feature article. Users can access a full article of interest with a simple swipe of the summary. They can also create a favorite folder and share articles via traditional social media avenues.

Smartphones are quickly becoming the top rated news source. Users turn to a news app or news website on their smartphone more often than reaching for a traditional newspaper or accessing a similar site on their laptops or tablets. Acquiring this mobile news summary app seems like the perfect way for Yahoo to earn that coveted seat at the cool table.

The powers that be at Yahoo don’t quite see it that way. They are more interested in the smart-minded technology powerhouse behind the app. The app itself will soon vanish. D’Alosio and two of his team members have been brought aboard as part of Yahoo’s staff. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made this move in an effort to tell the world that she still have the capability to seek out smart, innovative technological talent.

In a sense, she is trying to make Yahoo appear cool again. The company enjoyed a brief stint of coolness in 2005 with the acquisition of Internet companies such as Delicious, Flickr, and event site Upcoming. For a short time the plan worked and Yahoo gained that sought-after cool factor. Eventually, one-by-one, golden technology minds began walking out of Yahoo’s front door, taking the coolness points with them.

Mayer is striving to have Yahoo placed at the social media cool table by taking a vested interest in mobile apps and innovative software programs. She knows her beloved company is competing against the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Google to land the biggest and brightest technological minds available.

Yet $30 million seems like a high price to pay just to be cool again! 


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About the Author
Aprel Phelps Downey is a writing/marketing professional who holds more than seven years marketing experience, including all aspects of promotional and informational campaigns and website development.  To learn more about Aprel please visit her website at www.aprelphelpsdowney.com or follow her on twitter: @aphelpsdowney.
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