Yahoo! is going to be focusing heavily on the Canadian market. I've long been convinced that focusing on the Canadian market is a great strategy. Obviously, it's not as large as the US market, but the 'search density' is very low: it's very easy to get top ranks for keywords that include Canadian place names.
Yahoo! Canada has grown from 12 people to over 100. Of course, most of those are based out east: there is a small sales ofice here in Vancouver. Next goal (for me): get an R&D lab in Vancouver. Of course, I still know more people out of SF Yahoo than here in Canada: most of the focus here is on sales rather than technology.
The Panama Search advertising demo was very interesting. Most of the presentation was focused on ad purchasers, rather than inventory providers. It seems to have a much more robust dashboard and great geo-location capabilities, visualization, analytics, etc. -- they actually mentioned 13 provinces and territories.
It doesn't hurt that 80% of Canadian Internet users use a Yahoo property of some kind...
I was the only one to ask a question (surprise!) after the pure presentation part of the event. I asked about inventory: what was Yahoo!'s strategy to get more Yahoo! ads onto various Canadian web properties? The answer was very much focused on partnerships with "main stream" providers. Rogers was the name mentioned (not sure if that is mobile or cable data or...?). I was fishing for an answer about how to get developers and bloggers in Canada to bake Yahoo-related content and ads into their stuff.
I did catch up with Kerry Munro, the GM of Yahoo! Canada afterwards, and I'm satisfied that they have a real strategy and the people in place to follow it up. Still: it's catch up time to convince both ad buyers and "inventory" of content providers to use Yahoo instead of "the other guys".
Note to Fleishman-Hillard: you need more west coast presence -- you missed a bunch of folks like Darren Barefoot who are big out here, never mind a potential huge customer like Markus at plentyoffish.com (blog at plentyoffish.wordpress.com). Thanks in any case for getting me in last minute :P
Photos by KK, of course.