Yahoo Valued "Marketing Gimmicks" More than Search Speed
(p. 44) Google had struck a deal to handle all the search traffic of Yahoo, one of the biggest portals on the web.
The deal--announced on June 26, 2000--was a frustrating development to the head of Yahoo's search team, Udi Manber. He had been arguing that Yahoo should develop its own search product (at the time, it was licensing technology from Inktomi), but his bosses weren't interested. Yahoo's executives, led by a VC-approved CEO named Timothy Koogle (described in a BusinessWeek cover story as "The Grown-up Voice of Reason at Yahoo"), instead were devoting their attention to branding--marketing gimmicks such as putting the purple corporate logo on the Zamboni machine that swept the ice between periods of San Jose Sharks hockey games. "I had six people working on my search team," Manber said. "I couldn't get the seventh. This was a company that had thousands of people. I could not get the seventh." Since Yahoo wasn't going to develop its own search, Manber had the task of finding the best one to license.
Levy, Steven. In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
(Note: italics in original.)