Yahoo finally gets its wish

2012_05_11_Scott_ThompsonWhen we pitched Yahoo's business about four years ago, the PR director said the Internet dinosaur had one, single-minded goal: to become a verb. By that he meant Yahoo aspired to become synonymous with digital advertising in the same way its arch-nemesis, Google, had become with search.

The PR director's boss later told PR Week in a fawning profile that he was tired of "chasing a verb." He said his goal was for the executives at Google to worry what Yahoo was doing (and not vice versa). That line always made me laugh.

Well, both gentlemen are long gone (as are most of Yahoo's management team from those less than halcyon days). But, Yahoo HAS succeeded in becoming an adjective, if not a verb (and, NOT in the way they had originally intended).

As Marie Raperto's headline in Monday's indicates (and thanks to former CEO Scott Thompson), Yahoo has become synonymous with forging one's credentials on a resume. asks human resources managers everywhere, 'Is a Yahoo resume scandal in your corporation's future? That's beautiful.

I can just see a gaggle of HR managers sipping cocktails at a Society of Human Resource Management conference, and discussing the adjective/verb conundrum:

Art: “We were Yahooed by a CFO candidate last year.”
Ritter: “You think that's bad? A board candidate said he'd studied ballet at Julliard. Turned out he had two left feet! Good thing I asked him to do a pirouette during the interview or we would be suffering the Yahoo blues right now.”
Adel: “I'm tired of being Yahooed!”
Mark: “Who isn't? Being Yahooed is the quickest way for one of us to lose our jobs. All we need to do is to mistakenly hire a Scott Thompson, and we're toast!”

I'd like to think what goes around comes around. The people at Yahoo were positively ruthless (and ruderless) in their Holy Grail-like quest to become a verb. In the end, all it took was one dishonest CEO to accomplish what all the king's PR men and all the king's PR horses couldn't: make Yahoo a verb.

So, has your organization been Yahooed?

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