Some similarities for sure in any set of companies that skyrockets to a massive user base and corresponding corporate baggage. However, I was part of the Yahoo! Data Team and can tell you that Facebook is FAR more aggressive with data than we ever were.
The General Counsel of Yahoo! refused to let us tie browser and log-in cookie data, which would have given us better targeting on the 80% of users who weren’t logged in.
We wanted to personalize ads in Y! Mail way before gmail– no, because users said it was creepy.
We wanted to roll out conversion optimization well before AdWords, but it would have dented next quarter’s earnings. So no, even though it would have been a smart long-term decision.
Yahoo’s earnings are driven by a strong display sales team– arguably the best in the world. But the world has moved to self-serve. Facebook hasn’t dominated self-serve like Google, but they are making promising moves.
I’d love to see Facebook fix critical analytics bugs and roll out something stronger than Google Analytics. Never heard of Yahoo! Analytics? There is a reason for that.
I own no stock in either of these companies– just a guy who looks at things from the standpoint of the data and what we can do with it. I’ve never seen so much data available to marketers– so Facebook could win in this area, if they can teach companies how to use it appropriately. What do you think? IS Facebook the new Yahoo! ?