Marissa Mayer has improved everything at Yahoo—except for its business

High morale, low revenues.
High morale, low revenues.
Image: Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
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A year ago today, Yahoo made the surprise announcement that Marissa Mayer, the young Google all-star, would attempt to turn around its dying company, and looking back she certainly has improved a lot of parts of the company—just not the most important part: revenue. The stock has made a steady climb of more than 70% since her arrival:

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The stock price, though, might have more to do with Alibaba, its Chinese property, growing, notes the Associated Press. But, the acquisitions, and general positioning of Yahoo as a “mobile first” company have investors adding it to their portfolios.

In addition, morale within the company has improved, “people inside and outside the company” told The Wall Street Journal’s Amir Efrati and Rachel Emma Silverman. Despite a little media outrage over the work-from-the-office mandate Mayer instituted earlier this year, people say they like it. The free lunches, swag, and other perks have attracted and kept the best talent. “More people are applying to work at Yahoo and more employees are staying,” a Yahoo spokesperson told the Journal, adding that the rate of attrition has halved since a year ago.

But despite all of this good news, Yahoo hasn’t made more money during Mayer’s reign. Total revenue rose only 2% and its “most important line of revenue”—ad sales—has dropped and isn’t expected to fare much better in the near future. There are low expectations for today, with revenue coming in at $.30 per share. ”The problem is advertisers don’t want what Yahoo is selling,” one analyst told Marketplace. “There’s nothing that they’ve done [this past year] that changes that,” he added in a separate interview.

Mayer, however, has made 16 acquisitions that she hopes will change that fact by positioning the company in an increasingly phone-driven ad sales market. The company claims, that with the Tumblr buy, 22% of iPhone owners have downloaded a Yahoo-owned app. The very popular weather app the company introduced this year likely helped that stat. But how do you put ads on that without sending everyone back to the iPhone’s inferior, but totally fine version? Lucky for Mayer, due to the rising stock price and general positive buzz about the company, she has bought herself a little time to figure that out.

This originally appeared at The Atlantic Wire. More from our sister site:

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