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What’s 2010 Look Like for Yahoo?

yahoo_logo If Google is the Godzilla of the search market and Bing is Mechazilla, Yahoo! is Mothra: Kind of sad and dorky looking but people still know who he (it) is.

Of course, it wasn’t always that way. I remember when people talked about Google as being a “pipe dream” if founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin thought they had any chance of making a dent in Yahoo!’s market dominance.

Some dent.

As mentioned in this CNN Money report, Google and Bing are kicking Yahoo! to the curb. Google’s dominance in the search world is uncontested. Today, they own the game but the former lordship of Yahoo (and Netscape, and MySpace, and Friendster, etc.) should serve as a reminder that when it comes to playing King of the Hill on the Internet, the higher ground doesn’t really mean much.

Here comes Bing. Even though Bing is 3rd in search market share, it’s rapid growth is made only more worthy of note when you consider the money machine behind it. Microsoft can afford to play with Bing until they figure out the magic formula for search (if they haven’t already).

And money is something Yahoo! is no longer swimming in. This past week they “shutdown” to save money. While this WSJ post mentions that Adobe also shuts down at the end of the year, Adobe isn’t having cash problems.

Yahoo! apparently has some money for unique marketing ideas though. They paid the extra bag fees for passengers at SFO and SJO on Dec 23rd. Did everyone get Yahoo! luggage tags in exchange for having their bag fee paid?

But with Yahoo! ending their search engine arms race, what’s left?

I’m sure these guys aren’t going to give up without a fight, but what does the Yahoo! brand even mean anymore? Creating a brand out of thin air is one thing, but having the elements of your brand fall off and try to connect that brand to “new things” is sort of like opening a can of Coke to find a lemon-lime soda inside…or New Coke!

Ewwwwwwww

What do you think? Is Yahoo! still Yahoo! without search? What do they represent to you today? How is that different from a few years ago?