Yahoo’s 15 Most Useless Acquisitions

July 25, 2016

2:00 pm

With news that Verizon has acquired Yahoo, the days of independence for the trail-blazing company have come to an end. And while Marissa Mayer has made a number of significant moves in her time at the helm, there have been plenty of bone-headed moves that spelled doom for the Yahoo CEO. While statements have specified that she will likely stay on board, sources close to the deal insist that she will only be present until the deal is finalized in early 2017.

So what was the nail in the coffin for Yahoo’s independence? Unfortunately for the simplicity of this article, there wasn’t just one. Mayer’s tendency to acquire as many companies as possible only to eventually shut them down had a notably “buy first, ask questions later” mentality that rarely works well on a grand scale. Upon further research, I found that the Yahoo CEO has acquired and subsequently shut down upwards of 50 startups since 2012.

Are you wondering which of these startups was the most useless acquisition for the future of the now acquired company? Well luckily for you, I was nice enough to compile a few of them for you so you can decide for yourself what Yahoo and Marissa Mayer have done to their once noble empire.

  1. Snip.it (2013) – Dubbed “Pinterest for articles,” this company made little to no impact on Yahoo’s platform. They were shut down immediately, although all but one full-time employee was brought onto the Yahoo staff, a move consistent with most of their other acquisitions.
  2. Rondee (2013) – Purchased in the middle of Yahoo’s infamous spending spree, this conference calling startup was acquired with no apparent plan for its integration. There is no Yahoo phone, there is no calling app. Even now, searching “Yahoo Conference Calls” turns up nothing but confusing graphs and different services.
  3. Xobni (2013) – Despite their clever name (“inbox” spelled backwards), this email startup didn’t bring much to the Yahoo experience. While Yahoo sources claimed many of their features were “seamlessly integrated” into the platform, no noticeable differences have been made to the barely used Yahoo Mail.
  4. IQ Engines (2013) – As an image-recognition app, this startup was poised to do great things by teaming up with Flickr. Unfortunately, with Yahoo’s acquisition of both, IQ Engines and Flickr both became afterthoughts to the budding social media world of photo-sharing.
  5. Bignoggins Productions (2013) – Yahoo acquired this one-man startup to work on their fantasy sports apps. While the company founder claimed to utilize this tech to make games and stats more comprehensive, he was unceremoniously fired after opening a company email with a crass reference to the popular film, Straight Outta Compton.
  6. Bookpad (2014) – This Google Docs-esque app was acquired by Yahoo in hopes of competing with everyone’s favorite search engine. Unfortunately, they focused on business features, rather than consumer need, and weren’t able to get a lot of footing when it came to its integration into Yahoo Mail.
  7. Loki Studios (2013) – This mobile gaming startup was acquired by Yahoo to work on their mobile platform. While the startup originally hoped to become the most recognizable name in gaming, their hopes were dashed and severely underutilized by Yahoo.
  8. RayV (2014) – Yahoo hoped to compete with Youtube by acquiring this video platform, a laughable notion at this point. The company was Yahoo’s third choice, after deals to acquire Hulu and DailyMotion both fell through.
  9. Incredible Labs (2014) – This startup, most famous for its personal assistant app Donna, was acquired and shut down almost immediately by Yahoo. As you know, there is no personal assistant-like tech available for Yahoo. So whatever they’re doing with their employees, it’s not Donna-related.
  10. Distill (2014) – This technical recruiting app made life easier for hirers around the world. But when acquired by Yahoo, they forced employees to suspend their recruiting practices in pursuit of better mobile ads, because of their previous work on TapJoy, a mobile ads platform.
  11. Blink (2014) – This self-destructing messaging app was Yahoo’s answer to Snapchat. Unfortunately, they shut it down and merely brought on all their talent to bolster their smart product department.
  12. Luminate (2014) – This was another acquisition that Yahoo hoped would improve their media platform. Deemed the “AdSense for images,” this startup never got to spread its wings as they were again sent to the advertising department to improve technology they never worked on in the first place.
  13. Ghostbird Software (2013) – This startup boasted three successful photography apps, KitCam and PhotoForge and PhotoForge2. Yahoo hoped this acquisition would help to improve the status of Flickr, which was slowing slid down into the depths of unused photo archives.
  14. Hitpost (2013) – This acquistion came in tandem with their BigNoggins acquisition in order to bolster their sports app technology, focusing on the betting element of the games. While their fantasy games have improved, Yahoo still does not boast the most comprehensive platform out there today.
  15. Hitpost (2013) – This acquistion came in tandem with their BigNoggins acquisition in order to bolster their sports app technology, focusing on the betting element of the games. While their fantasy games have improved, Yahoo still does not boast the most comprehensive platform out there today.

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at conor@tech.co.