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Yahoo! – Ménage à Mess

Rumors are swirling around Yahoo! – is it going to be an AOL merger or a Microsoft buyout? It’s not surprising – rumors and speculation have become a favorite past-time when it comes to Yahoo! Everyone loves to pile on, but as a former Yahoo! employee – it’s getting harder and harder to watch.

Yahoo! Reviews
Overall Rating – 3.4
CEO Approval Rating (Jerry Yang) –
34% Approve (42% Disapprove)
AOL Reviews
Overall Rating – 2.8
CEO Approval Rating (Randy Falco) –
14% Approve (65% Disapprove)
Overall Rating – 3.7
CEO Approval Rating (Steve Ballmer) –
45% Approve (30% Disapprove)

I practically bled purple and yellow when I joined Yahoo!, but in the years that followed you could almost see the company lose it’s “mojo” (right along with their most talented employees). And as the race out of those purple and yellow doors began, I remember a conversation with one of my career mentors in which he said, “we’re going to become the next AOL, so get out while Yahoo! still means something.”

In the end it was great advice – I took it earlier this year and left shortly after Microsoft had given my Yahoo! stock a well-timed bump. But I didn’t think we’d still be talking about all this more than 6 months later. Now I don’t know what to believe – will my mentor’s prediction come true (Yahoo! and AOL become one in the same) or will Microsoft come in again (and give my friends there well-time bump before they leave).

So I thought it would be interesting to see what everyone has been saying on Glassdoor. What I found was surprising…in many ways Yahoo! and AOL are already one in the same. Just take a look below at a few of the review snippits from Yahoo! and AOL employees. Let’s see if you can guess which company the employee is talking about: (answers at the bottom of this post).

Review #1

Clear out the dead weight in sr management, focus on core businesses, and invest heavily in them. Allow business owners to take risks where appropriate and be willing to accept failure as part of the business.”

Review #2

When the rumors start flying, and depending on if your division is likely to be affected, employee morale basically plummets and it seems hardly any work gets done.”

Review #3

There is lots of over-strategizing going on. Decisions are often revisited over and over again. Senior management is often afraid to make difficult decisions. As a result of these factors, teams and projects spend a lot of time spinning in circles, rather than executing and moving forward.”

If you want change at Yahoo!, you’ll see that selling out to Microsoft is not looking so bad anymore. And when 28% of the AOL reviews already mention the word “layoffs”, that can’t be a good sign (though it may be quite prophetic).

I’m not saying Microsoft is perfect, but it sure seems like the better of the two options to me. You’ll get your stock bump, you can leave (either by choice or with layoff), and life will go on. Yes it will be sad, but it will be better than living through another several months of uncertainty and speculation.

Answers: (1) Yahoo! Product Manager (2) AOL Principal Software Engineer (3) Yahoo! Director

Want more? See all the company reviews for Yahoo!, AOL, or Microsoft on