Yahoo Dumps its Brand Universe Social Media Branding Project

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In what first was seen by the search and branding community as the perfect mix of Yahoo’s social properties and advertising, Yahoo has now discontinued its Yahoo Brand Universe initiative, exactly one year after its birth.

AdWeek reports that a Yahoo rep said the destinations “did not fit into the broader strategy laid out by CEO Jerry Yang for Yahoo! to be the ‘starting point’ of consumer Internet activity” and that Brand Universes are included in the fat that Yang plans to trim at Yahoo which are not central to that vision or its ad network strategy : which is mostly search, travel, sports & entertainment.

Yahoo first started Brand Universe with its Wii page, at (now redirects to Yahoo Games)which shined a spotlight on the many Yahoo social media offerings like Flickr, Delicious and Yahoo Answers, and united them around a branded nucleus. Yahoo had then planned to build 100 other sites based upon Yahoo advertisers and popular brands from the film, video, music and gaming industries.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Jeff O’Connor

    This is a mistake on Yahoo’s part – a big one.

    It’s terrific that Yahoo! has decided to narrow its focus on search, travel, sports, and entertainment, but tragic that they can’t apply an actual good idea like the Yahoo! Brand Universe to their verticals. Is it such a stretch to take the Brand Universe approach and apply it to these new focus areas?

  • stephen pitts

    I wonder if this will affect their social space?

    They have some great social properties and have not leveraged them yet for maximum exposure.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    One strategy here may not be the total trashing of the Brand Universe idea, but using its core as a new Groups type format, similar to Facebook when Yahoo finally (after 2 years of waiting) connects its users via social mapping. Then again, maybe not.

    I wouldn’t really think that there would be too much money or staff behind these branded mash-ups, and they would be pretty easy to somewhat automate.

    Then again, I could be wrong.

    Anyway, it is a loss of innovative advertising … but has the recent trend of monetizing the discussion taken away from the direct response of focused search & display advertising?

    If Brand Universe takes Yahoo users off tangent of the intended end result of clicking on an advertisement, then yes, that is a diversion to Yahoo’s recent vision.

    Yahoo has mastered the mix of search, behavioral and display advertising on and off of Yahoo properties. So it may make some sense to focus that energy that was put into Brand Universe on something that is generating revenue.

  • Cnc Kesim

    They have some great social properties and have not leveraged them yet for maximum exposure.

  • Egyptian Mau Breeders

    This is a huge mistake on yahoo’s part. I agree that they have some under exposed properties.

  • Geoff Northcott

    Hi Loren,

    You might be interested to know that it looks like the Brand Universe strategy is back on, with the same basic approach to the content and a totally different approach to monetization:


  • mike waters

    interesting read if there are any companies that are looking to have their businesses branded with social media like myspace facebook & twitter you should check this website out its great