But this particular moment is a good one for reflecting on how Yahoo’s troubles are likely to be replicated in a wave across the web, and soon, among businesses like news organizations that rely heavily on advertising revenue for their survival. Facebook and Google are practically drowning in ad revenue—together they command a huge portion of global digital-ad dollars—and that’s the root of the problem for every other business trying to clamor for a piece of it. One often-repeated stat, based on last year’s financials, is that Facebook and Google account for 85-percent of every new dollar spent on digital advertising. Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next, estimates that Facebook and Google accounted for about 99 percent of all advertising growth in the third quarter of 2016—54 percent of the pie for Google, 45 percent of it for Facebook, 1 percent for everybody else.Print newspapers will continue to fold, but Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. (That’s based on numbers from the each company’s public financial records and data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for advertisers.)For everyone other than Facebook and Google, Kint tweeted in December, it’s a “zero-sum game.”Many investors have reached this conclusion, too.Perhaps if it had committed to search, for instance, it could have fended off Google.
The companies also vowed to work toward interoperability between their instant messaging services.
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It seems preordained now, having watched Yahoo stumble for so many years, but there was a time when Yahoo was much bigger than either company.
It is true that Yahoo was “never able to decide on exactly what it wanted to be,” as Jonathan Weber and Jeffrey Dastin put it for Reuters last year.