In North America, Yahoo! is a great site for aggregating data but it’s really not a search or web advertising site. Those sectors of its business have been handed over to Microsoft’s Bing, while Yahoo! is focusing on more social and service-based components. Yahoo! isn’t intending to play the back-seat role everywhere, however. In the Middle East and North Africa, Yahoo! is pushing for involvement in web media and advertising.
Carol Bartz, Yahoo!’s CEO (and the person most responsible for the company’s re-focus on a more narrow project lineup), says that North Africa and the Middle East “is one of the most exciting markets for us at Yahoo, with a combination of rapid user growth and a very attractive advertising market with incredible potential.” The company is paying special attention to the presence of Arabic-language content on the web, which is growing quickly but still accounts for only 1% of content on the web.
Yahoo! has made several investments in the region already, dating back to Maktoob.com, which Yahoo! purchased in 2009.Maktoob is the second biggest news site in the region. Yahoo!’s future plans involve increased investment in Arabic-language media, especially video content from established films, music videos, and TV series. Yahoo! remains a powerful advertiser in the area, owning 40% of the display advertising share, and may be able to expand that strength by investing in the aforementioned growth areas.