If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain – Francis Bacon
Friend 1: Are you seeing Yahoo homepage?
Friend 2: Yes.
Friend 1: Do you see what I see?
Friend 2: No!
It turns out that everyone sees different articles on Yahoo homepage. It is personalized heavily.
What Yahoo does is, it sifts through thousands of articles that came out in the past few hours – the news – and selects the best articles for you.
I mean, your Investment Banker friend maybe interested in the latest Warren Buffet’s stakeholder meeting – whereas you are interested in Cyber Privacy, and the latest on GDPR, then, it makes sense for Yahoo to surface appropriate articles for each.
You can see it for yourself. Go to Yahoo.com in your browser.
Now, open an incognito session in the same browser, and go to yahoo.com.
Look at the contents. Compare them. I had to go below the fold to see the difference.
Many years ago, someone came up with the idea – if the users won’t go to yahoo.com, then let yahoo.com go to the users – by email.
Let us send to everyone the home page that they would have seen, had they come to yahoo.com on their own.
This seemed like a bizarre idea – but an idea audacious enough to merit testing. That is what we did.
We started with a test audience of substantial size (about 100K) and ran a newsletter campaign for a few months … except, it was not a newsletter but the yahoo homepage.
We crunched the numbers after the test, and reports came in positive. We had a super hit idea. People were clicking on the mails and opening them. Then, they were clicking those 10% of the time. And ending up on Yahoo website. And they were staying there for a while.
We had additional traffic on yahoo homepage from this campaign. If yahoo homepage made money, then, we got the credit.
We had a way to generate extra revenue through email marketing.
What next was – when you tell your CFO that by sending a few emails, which cost almost nothing, you made a few real dollars .. they say – scale it up. Scale it up to the maximum!
The maximum? Did he mean all 1 billion user accounts? (Or as many as we had)?
In the next article, we will take a look at what that meant! And how we dealt with it!